Labour’s fallen ‘Red Wall’ in Wales – one year on from election

By Ione Wells
Westminster correspondent

Publishedduration3 hours ago

media captionHow do ‘Red Wall’ voters feel one year on?

This weekend marks a year since the Conservatives gained six seats from Labour in Wales.

The only Welsh brick remaining in Labour’s northern “Red Wall” became Wales’s most marginal seat.

No-one knew the task that lay ahead for the politicians they were voting in.

But now they do, how do voters who “lent” their votes to other parties think they’ve fared?

‘Best of a bad bunch’

Suni Coombes voted Conservative for the first time last year in Alyn and Deeside, which stayed Labour by just 213 votes.

She says they were the “best out of a bad bunch” but the economy and the promise to “get Brexit done” swung it for her.

Suni, who works in Saltney, on the England-Wales border, says she was frustrated at how the party had responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Obviously, hindsight is a wonderful thing but there were a few failures, I believe.

“We didn’t close the borders earlier on, like other countries.”

image captionSuni Coombes voted Conservative for the first time at last year’s General Election

She adds: “What I really struggled with was when I heard that Dominic Cummings did his travelling. He didn’t come out and admit he was wrong – and that was kind of a turning point for me.”

So, have her misgivings about the handling of the pandemic been enough to change her views?

“It’s difficult,” Suni says, weighing up her answer.

“I don’t think there’s anything in particular other parties would do better. So it has changed my views slightly, but whether it would change my vote – I’m not too sure.”

And if the UK doesn’t get a trade deal with the EU? “I think it would make me reconsider my decision, yes.”

Suni’s seat didn’t go the way she hoped last year, but neighbouring Delyn swung Conservative by 865 votes – becoming the most marginal Tory seat in Wales.

image captionScott Jones said he felt he had to vote “tactically” in Delyn because he thought the result would be close

Scott Jones voted Labour in Delyn last December, but said it was with a “heavy heart.”

“Here in north Wales the seats are so close between Labour and the Conservatives, you are sort of funnelled into one or the other.

“I would have rather voted for a smaller party like the Liberal Democrats or Plaid Cymru but it’s just not something you can do here.”

“I had concerns over the Labour leadership, I didn’t like Boris Johnson either. So it was a really, really difficult thing to weigh up on either side.

“I think I made the right decision in the end.

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