Welsh Labour suffers worst electoral defeat in 90 years

Welsh Labour suffers worst electoral defeat in 90 yearsPolitical earthquake in Wales as the Labour party fails to come first in a Welsh election for the first time since 1918.

Political earthquake in Wales as the Labour party fails to come first in a Welsh election for the first time since 1918.

The Conservatives have emerged as Wales' largest party, following the European election held on 4 June 2009.

It is the first time since World War I that the Welsh Labour party has failed to come first in a Welsh election.

The poll was topped by the Conservatives with 145,193 votes (21%), followed by Labour with 138,852 votes (20%), Plaid Cymru with 126,702 votes (18%), and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) with 87,585 votes (12%).

The Welsh Liberal Democrats also had a disappointing result, sliding into fifth place with 73,082 votes (10%) and failing to gain a seat in the European Parliament.

The four elected Welsh Members of the European Parliament will be Kay Swinburne for the Conservatives, Derek Vaughan for the Labour Party, Jill Evans for Plaid Cymru, and John Bufton of the UKIP.

Labour blames economic recession for shock result

In a joint statement given after the poll, First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan and Welsh Secretary Peter Hain blamed the recession and recent scandals over MPs' expenses for their party's poor result.

The veteran Labour politicians said "We have got to listen to the message that the public is so clearly giving us" and called on party activists to remain united and begin rebuilding trust.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain added that the results "send a very clear message to everybody in Wales: if you don't vote Labour, if for example you vote Plaid Cymru, you will get the Tories".

But other party activists believed that Welsh Labour had not conveyed a clear message to voters. Former Labour MEP Eluned Morgan told that "There was a problem with our message. I was part of our campaign and I can't tell you clearly what our message was".

The Welsh Labour Party has been suffering a steady decline in support for the past three years, but the 2009 European election has hit a new record low with the party losing in every area of Wales outside Glamorgan and Gwent.

Conservatives celebrate overtaking Labour

The Welsh Conservatives celebrated their best election result ever, which makes them the nation's most popular party.

Party leader Nick Bourne declared the result “is an outstanding achievement for the Welsh Conservative Party. It builds on the successes we have made year after year. It gives us every confidence for the future".

Referring to the Labour party election result, Mr Bourne told "This result kills the lie that Wales will always be Labour".

The tory leader said "there is only one party in Wales that can beat Labour and that is the Welsh Conservative party".

The Welsh Conservatives have made gains at every election in Wales since 1999 and had aimed to overtake Labour at the 2009 European election.

Plaid Cymru ponders life after Labour

The Party of Wales, which is currently Labour's coalition partner in the Welsh Assembly Government, only slightly improved their share of the vote and remained as the nation's third largest party.

Party leader and Wales’ Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones declared that Labour has no chance of winning the next British general election and that his party will try to attract the support of disaffected Labour supporters.

Mr Jones welcomed the pro-devolution attitude of the Welsh tories and suggested that Plaid Cymru was open to consider any political opportunities with other political forces than Labour.

Think-Tank says Wales is "in the age of multiparty politics"

John Osmond, director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), the Welsh leading political and economic Think-Tank, said that the 2009 European election results confirmed that no party in Wales enjoyed a hegemonic position.

Mr Osmond said it would be difficult to make real extrapolations in the event of a Welsh Assembly election, but he stated that it was clear that Wales is "in the age of multiparty politics."

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