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Coffee House General Election 2017

Can Labour become a truly national party again?

24 April 2017

5:05 PM

24 April 2017

5:05 PM

The latest polling marmalade dropper comes from Wales. Labour have won a majority of Welsh seats in every general election for the past eighty-odd years. But the latest Welsh Political Barometer, the most respected poll there, has the Tories on 40 per cent and on course to win 21 seats to Labour’s 15.

This poll combined with the fact that Labour is now down to one MP in Scotland shows how difficult it will be for the party to win a UK-wide majority again. They will have to do it without the inbuilt advantage that their Celtic strength used to provide them with.

If May can succeed in realigning British politics in this election and flip lots of Labour seats in the North and the Midlands, then it will become even harder for Labour. They will have to rebuild from a base in which London has an outsize influence both among the parliamentary party and the membership. They will no longer be a truly national party.

Now, parties can rebuild after landslide defeats. The Tories, after all, came back from being wiped out in Scotland and Wales in 1997 and reduced to 165 seats overall. But it isn’t easy, takes time and requires the party—and its membership—to be prepared to change.

Are the Conservatives about to make history in Wales? James Forsyth and Katy Balls speak to Professor Roger Scully:

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