Welsh Labour works for you, Drakeford tells voters at election campaign launch

Elliot Chappell

Mark Drakeford and Keir Starmer are set to launch the Welsh Labour local elections campaign with a message to voters that “Welsh Labour works for you, and Wales needs strong Welsh Labour councils”.

At an event on Tuesday morning, the First Minister and Welsh Labour leader will urge voters to back their Labour councillors – who he will say have “stepped in and stepped up” in the face of unprecedented challenges over the past five years.

Drakeford is expected to highlight the work of Labour-run authorities, “whether it’s been dealing with the effects of flooding, delivering flagship policies such as the 21st century school programme or being at the forefront of the pandemic response”.

He will add: “As we face a Tory-made cost-of-living crisis and the devastating situation in Ukraine, Welsh Labour councils are again working tirelessly to protect and deliver for local communities.”

Drakeford used his Welsh Labour conference speech earlier this year to praise the “profoundly important role” that local councils played in the response to Covid, arguing that “when we needed to look after the most vulnerable people across Wales, it was local councils, and local councillors, who were on the frontline”.

The Welsh Labour leader is expected to highlight the achievements of local authorities in helping to build a “stronger, fairer and greener Wales” including improved recycling rates, building low-carbon homes and planting trees.

Starmer launched the UK Labour campaign last month, urging voters to “send the Tories a message they cannot ignore” on the cost of living and criticising the Conservatives for what he called their “pathetic” response in the Spring Statement.

He chose to kick off the campaign in Bury where the party recently gained a new MP, defector Christian Wakeford, and where the party hopes to win back another constituency, Bury North, which the Tories won in 2019 by just 105 votes.

Voters across Wales, Scotland and parts of England will go to the polls on May 5th. There are 22 councils in Wales with a total of 1,234 seats across 762 wards up for grabs. Labour lost more than 100 seats in the last election in 2017.

The Welsh Conservatives gained 80 councillors in 2017, but the party has come under pressure amid the ongoing ‘partygate’ scandal and police investigation into alleged breaches of Covid rules in Downing street during the pandemic.

A majority of people in Wales told YouGov that Boris Johnson should resign in research published by the pollster last month. 58% of respondents reported that they wanted the Prime Minister to resign, while just 28% wanted him to remain.

10% of Conservative supporters wanted Johnson to resign. The same poll also found a drop in the approval rating of the UK government to 27%, with 67% saying that they have little confidence in Johnson’s administration. 54% of respondents said they trusted the Welsh Labour-led government.

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