Wales politics

Carwyn Jones: 'Broader appeal' needed from Labour

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Media captionLabour Party did not 'get its message right' says Carwyn Jones

The first minister in Wales has said Labour must appeal to a broader range of voters in the future.

Addressing a special BBC Wales Report debate, Carwyn Jones said Labour needed to be the party for "plumbers, carpenters and electricians".

It follows the best general election result for the Conservatives in Wales for more than 30 years.

With the National Assembly elections next year, Mr Jones accepted Labour did not "get its message right".

He said the party had to appeal to self-employed people and small businesses and had targeted its message "too narrowly".

Mr Jones later told Good Morning Wales: "We currently say people running small businesses should be natural Labour supporters, but I don't think we had enough appeal for them at all."

He added: "I think a lot of people thought 'I would like to vote Labour, but...' and the challenge for us next year is to get rid of that 'but' and persuade people to move that little bit further forward and vote Labour again."

Mr Jones said people also made a judgement on "who they think looks like a prime minister or a first minister" but said that was not the main issue in Labour's defeat.

The debate over devolution was a key issue during the Wales Report with Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies saying his party was committed to getting a good deal for Wales and also continued to attack the Welsh government's record on the NHS.

Image caption Party leaders: Carwyn Jones, Andrew RT Davies, Leanne Wood, Kirsty Williams and Nathan Gill

Devolution 'squabble'

UKIP Wales' leader Nathan Gill told the audience that some people still questioned devolution because of the Welsh government's performance.

"By delivering on our NHS, by delivering on education and by delivering on the economy. If we do that, people will come along - otherwise it's just a squabble," he argued.

While not winning a seat in Wales last week, his party did manage to push itself into third place for share of the Welsh vote.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said that concerns over the health service made some people question whether more powers should come to Wales given it is a devolved issue.

Her party now has a single MP in Wales, in Ceredigion's Mark Williams.

She told the panel: "We've not seen a devolution dividend, with people worried about the health service and public services, it does make people doubt whether we should have additional powers."

Reflecting on the election result, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood said it had been disappointing for her party.

Despite exposure in UK television debates, Plaid remained on three seats.

She said that it was "naïve" to expect big gains from what she described as "a small number of TV appearances".

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