Wales politics

General election: 'Tension and chaos' for candidates' families

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Door knocking, leaflet dropping and trying to persuade a sceptical public to vote for you - campaigning can be hard for even the most seasoned politician.

But how do their families cope?

As general election candidates make their final push before polls open on Thursday, what is life like for those supporting and making sacrifices behind the scenes?

We spoke to a wife, a son and a father of Welsh candidates from across the party spectrum anonymously - and they revealed all.

Wife: "There are times when it causes tension"

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It's chaos during campaigning - it just takes over everything.

It's 24/7 - every single day my husband is out of the house from 9am to 10pm campaigning and leafleting. And when he gets home in the evening he's on the phone signing off leaflets or plans for the next day.

He wants to throw everything at it and is working really hard.

When the snap election was first announced I was quite calm at first - yes, it meant uncertainty with his job but I just thought everything would be OK.

But as the weeks have gone on it's been really difficult - you do make a lot of sacrifices. We don't get chance to have family days out together and I can't remember the last time we had a proper conversation.

I'm a mum of two children under primary school age and that in itself is a hard job, whatever your circumstances.

I also went back to work part-time earlier this year as I feared the situation after the EU referendum might mean a career in politics wouldn't be that secure.

It's hard juggling work and the children without my husband around but luckily we have amazing family who help us.

There are times when the workload from campaigning can cause tension. But I used to work with politicians and go out and about leafleting during campaigns so I think that helps me understand how difficult it is.

Saying that, I don't really like to go out door knocking with him as I find it hard if someone says something negative about him.

I also don't look at social media anymore as people can be so mean on there and you start to panic, thinking nobody likes him.

I support him and I'm so proud of him - and yes, there can be some good points being married to a politician.

But I just want this campaigning period to be over. I want us to be able to spend some family time together.

Son: "There's a fear you could put your foot in it"

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I have been through four general elections now and before that there were council elections - it's what I've grown up with as my mum's been involved in politics all of my life.

I'd just started university when my mum first stood to be an MP and that was difficult in two ways.

There's a sense you should go back home and do something, even if it's just providing support or to help around the house because you know how difficult and time-consuming it all is.

There's also a sense of frustration - you don't know what's going on and you worry. And when you do get to come back, it's strange going out door knocking and asking people to vote for your mum.

I remember during the 2010 election campaign a man was incredibly rude and personally abusive to her. I ended up shouting at him, even though I knew I shouldn't have as it's politics.

But it's frustrating as you know how incredibly hard your parent has worked. It's such a hard job that takes you away from family for a long time.

It's often quite thankless - lots of people think quite lowly of politicians and you want to shout about what they're doing. So you have to get used to just listening to criticism and you have to deal with it.

There's a fear as a child that you could put your foot in it. If I was to go up to someone in public and get into an argument, you don't know if that would end up becoming scandalous and in the papers. Or if you posted a stupid social media post...

I'm in my early 30s now and I work but you still need to be a little wary, especially around election time.

For some people an election is a bit like supporting a football team and you root for different sides.

When your family's involved in politics you know what's involved and how serious it is because you know the work they do.

Father: "We've been stuffing envelopes"

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My daughter is standing to be an MP and I'm absolutely thrilled. It's marvellous and tremendous. I'm very proud of her.

My wife is delighted about what's happening too. We tell all the family and everyone gets to know about it all.

I myself am political and when my daughter was at school I used to drag her and her sister out to deliver newsletters. I remember she didn't really want to do it and I would never have thought then that she'd be standing to be an MP.

But her interest in politics started while she was at school, where her teachers helped her and made sure kids knew what life was really like and the political situation.

Now she's taken on the political baton from me.

The problem is it's difficult for a young woman - there's a long way to go for them, especially when they have children.

If a child is ill she can't cancel plans. Her two young children are used to her strange hours - she often has to leave the house at 5am. And her husband works full-time. So it will put pressure on family life.

My wife and I live quite far away but have just been to visit our daughter to help with the campaigning. We were stuffing envelopes and there was an excellent atmosphere - it was quite harmonious and positive between party workers.

It was great to see our grandchildren too. They understand the situation and my grandson has even been making boards for his mum.

I wouldn't be surprised if he got into politics and became first minster one day.

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