Article written by CWS Director Matthew MacKinnon:
The Conservatives have always had a mixed history when it comes to elections in Wales. In 1983 they held 14 of the 38 Parliamentary seats, 14 years later in 1997 they had lost every single seat and it took until 2005 to take just a handful back.
2015 saw the Conservatives make solid gains across Wales, gaining long held Labour and Liberal seats such as the Vale of Clwyd, Brecon and Radnorshire, Gower and holding onto marginals such as Cardiff North.
But just four years on all those seats are now in opposition hands and are key targets for the party in this election to gain back.
Throughout the course of this General Election campaign I have kept in contact with various candidates and friends who are working on Conservative and Brexit Party election campaigns right across Wales.
I have been struck by what I have been told, Labour voters in North Wales and the Valleys deserting the party en-mass. Their disgust in Jeremy Corbyn representing the once proud, working class Labour party sends shivers down their spines and many are voting Conservative or Brexit Party.
There are a number of seats which I believe will change hands and show Labour’s ever-increasing irrelevance in its heartlands.
If I was making a conservative estimate I believe the following seats will fall from Labour to Conservative:
Vale of Clwyd
Brecon and Radnorshire – Will go from Liberal Democrat back to Conservative after their gain in the summers by-election.
This would be a significant gain for the Conservatives and would see the Lib Dems completely wiped out unless they take back Ceredigion, which they could well do.
I believe the Conservatives would be very happy with these gains but could potentially gain a handful more if they continue to squeeze the last few percent from the Brexit party and undecided voters up until polling day. If they can keep or increase their 10% lead they could also gain:
Alyn & Deeside
From what I understand the Brexit Party campaign has been struggling, many candidates not receiving any leaflets going into the final week of the campaign and just a handful of ‘target seats’ getting any support.
Maybe this is part of their strategy, taking a step back from seats Eurosceptic Conservatives can win where they can not and focusing on what they see as their heartlands across the Valleys.
They believe they will receive a decent vote share across Wales but struggle to make any gains due to their vote splitting with Conservatives. If a deal had been made they would have surely taken one or two in places such as Blaenau Gwent.
So, lets wait and see what happens in the early hours of Friday morning. Wales could show us how the election is going, a strong showing for the Conservatives and gains in places such as Brecon and Radnorshire and Vale of Clwyd could show a small majority. But a landslide with six or seven more seats falling to the Conservatives across our nation could spell disaster for Labour as the Tories would be well on their way to a hefty majority that could take at least two more elections to break down.
But if I had to put money on it, I would say the right will make solid gains across Wales at this election with at least five more seats than they won in 2017. Only time will tell.