Chris Bryant won 68.3 per cent of the vote when he first stood for Labour MP in the Rhondda in 2001. Every year since then, his share of the vote has gone down. His predecessor, Allan Rogers, won 74.5 per cent of the vote before him.
While the trend has been clear, Bryant still managed to get re-elected with the majority of votes in 2015. I detect a whiff of panic this year at the threat from the Welsh Nationalists. The Plaid Cymru vote has been on an uptrend but they were still 20 percentage points behind in 2015 – so why is Bryant so worried?
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Jeremy Corbyn is not going down well in the valleys, the Tories are polling ahead of Labour in their Welsh heartland for the first time in living memory. Last week in the local elections in his constituency, Labour lost six seats taking their count from 15 to 9 councillors. Plaid surged from seven seats to a total of 14 councillors.
Even more alarming for Bryant is that the share of the votes cast for Plaid went from 39.9 per cent in 2012 to 47.9 per cent last week. Labour’s plunged 12 per cent from 54.9 per cent in 2012 to 42.5 per cent last week. That’s not a poll – which are bad enough for Labour in Wales with them trailing the Tories – that’s real votes cast.