Election 2017

General election 2017: Was this Welsh Labour's Goldilocks poll?

Carwyn Jones and Jeremy Corbyn after Mr Corbyn's speech
Image caption Carwyn Jones and Jeremy Corbyn together at the Welsh Labour conference

Was this the Goldilocks election for Welsh Labour, with just the right blend of Jeremy Corbyn and Carwyn Jones?

First Minister Mr Jones played the starring role in his party's Welsh campaign.

Mr Corbyn wasn't airbrushed out completely, but it was telling that in a speech to launch the campaign Mr Jones did not mention Jeremy once.

Early on, a senior Labour figure told me he hoped people would set aside their feelings about Mr Corbyn and return Labour MPs to stop a Tory landslide.

Small wonder Mr Corbyn's supporters are calling these result a vindication for him.

But trying to work out what went right for Labour will attract less attention than trying to work out what went wrong for the Conservatives.

The Tories got more votes than in 2015.

Unfortunately for them, Labour did too. And Labour's share grew by a bigger margin.

Meanwhile, UKIP's vote has crumbled or, in some cases, vanished altogether. In the Tory-Labour battleground of Delyn, for example, there was no UKIP candidate. In neighbouring Alyn and Deeside, UKIP was down 15%.

The Conservatives would have hoped to hoover up those votes in what was supposed to be Theresa May's Brexit election.

This week a Tory candidate told me her appeal remained intact, despite the wobbles.

"The campaign is ending as it started," he said.

But a Labour rival in the same region thought former UKIP voters would come home to Labour, safe in the knowledge Mr Corbyn wouldn't stop Brexit.

Image caption Leanne Wood had urged Wales to defend itself from Theresa May

There was a party offering voters a chance to stop Brexit - the Liberal Democrats - who lost their only Welsh seat, leaving Wales with no Liberal MPs for the first time since 1859.

That result, in Ceredigion, gives Plaid Cymru a record-equalling four seats, despite Plaid's vote share falling in an election that wound the clock back to two-party politics.

Plaid ran a campaign that reflected leader Leanne Wood's anti-Tory politics, urging Wales to "defend" itself from Theresa May.

In the end, the voters who felt that was necessary decided Labour was best placed to do it.

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