Wales Election 2016

Labour's focus on leader 'reflects the age', says Carwyn Jones

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Media captionCarwyn Jones says voters consider whether leaders are 'up to the job'

Focusing Welsh Labour's assembly election campaign on Carwyn Jones reflects "the age that we live in", the party leader has said.

Launching the campaign, Mr Jones said voters' decisions were partly based on party leader's performances.

Labour has led the Welsh government since 1999 and Mr Jones has been first minister since 2009.

Rival parties said Labour should be judged on its record, after 17 years in power in Wales.

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has previously said of Mr Jones that "it's me or him" on election day.

Asked whether the Labour campaign was too focused on him, at a launch event in Barry Island, Mr Jones said: "We're not a cult, we're not UKIP.

"There are two things here - first, we've got our pledges out already, manifesto next week so all that's coming.

"I know full well that people will look at party leaders, and judge whether that person is up to the job - it's the age that we live in.

"So I'm leading from the front, but of course we've got the policies, the best pledges and the best manifesto next week."

Image caption Carwyn Jones launching Labour's campaign in Barry Island

Schools, the NHS and apprenticeships have already been named as priorities.

Labour is currently the largest party in Cardiff Bay, with 30 of the 60 seats in the Senedd.

Mr Jones has previously said it would be Welsh Labour's "toughest ever assembly campaign".

He defended his government's 17 years of uninterrupted rule in Wales but admitted "each election gets harder because our record gets longer".

He said his Labour government had "kept all of our promises" since the last assembly election in 2011, and it would do the same again if returned to power in May.

Asked how his party would avoid a repeat performance of Welsh Labour's poor general election performance in 2015, Mr Jones said: "The difference is we have more data than we had last year.

"We have more resources. We're in a much better place."

The party suffered a disappointing result in the 2015 general election, recording its second worst share of the vote in Wales since 1918, including losing Gower and the Vale of Clwyd to the Conservatives.

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