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General Election results – What does this mean for Wales?

The General Election has seen a dramatic change in the political landscape in Wales. Boundary changes seem to have made little difference to the outcome forecasted by polls and predictions and we saw many long-standing Members of Parliament lose their seats to a sea of red across Wales.

Plaid Cymru once again took the historic seat of Caerfyrddin with local farmer and Councillor Ann Davies storming in with over 15,000 votes. This seat is if course the seat which Plaid Cymru’s Gwynfor Evans took from Labour in 1966. Ann is no stranger to the Countryside Alliance as she has campaigned with our Director for Wales several times on the “no pylons” campaign. We wish her well in her new role.

The Conservative Party was completely obliterated with several Members of Parliament of calibre losing their seats. There is now not one Conservative Member of Parliament in Wales and those ripples will be felt from Westminster all the way to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The Liberal Democrats fought a knife edge battle in the new constituency of Brecon Radnor and Cwm Tawe and were duly rewarded by taking this seat again from the Conservative Party. David Chadwick is now its Member of Parliament and has met with us several times before.

So what does this election mean for Wales?

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has previously said that Wales was a blueprint for the future under Labour, sending shivers down the spines and rolls in the eyes of rural and urban folk alike. Wales appears to be struggling, and many feel that a blueprint it is not.

The Welsh Government does not have a great track record of supporting our countryside. It has demonstrated an exceptionally hostile attitude towards game shooting, and the recent disastrous plan for a future Sustainable Farming Scheme saw the biggest farming demonstration outside the Senedd to date. It continues to buy up productive agricultural land through Natural Resources Wales to fulfil tree planting targets and has done nothing whatsoever to discourage, or indeed stop, large corporate companies buying up land for mass tree planting, threatening our heritage, culture and Welsh language.

Outside of the countryside the people of Wales were in uproar at the 20mph changes while the NHS is buckling under the pressure of being under resourced, with record waiting lists and GP surgeries under significant pressure to function. Rural Wales, of course, suffers equally to urban Wales when we talk about a reduction in services, yet policies are not rural proofed, yet again.

And so in a critical time for services across Wales we see a new Labour Government again obsessed with hunting, not content with the mess the party made of the Hunting Act which consumed more parliamentary time than the war in Iraq. This time around it wants to ban the lawful activity of trail hunting and it may not stop there.

Sir Keir’s visit today (Monday 8 July 2024) to the Senedd to meet Wales’s First Minister, Vaughn Gething, firms up the relationship between both Governments. As new MPs make their way to Westminster, Sir Keir chose to make his to the Senedd. It is rumoured in the media that he said he wants to work “step in step” with Welsh Labour Government. It will be a short trip if he takes the rural votes for granted.

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