Wales politics

Last local election campaigning before polling day

Council elections

Political parties are issuing their final messages to Welsh voters before the local elections on Thursday.

First Minister Carwyn Jones emailed Labour Party members asking for their help with a final push for votes.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said her party was best placed to defend local services and "clean up" communities.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said Tory councillors would provide "better local services and more accountability".

The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Mark Williams promised to lead "real change" in communities, while UKIP AM Gareth Bennett highlighted plans to clamp down on "fat cat" salaries for council bosses.

Wales Green Party leader Grenville Ham said his party brought "new ideas and new energy to the table".

Image caption Carwyn Jones has said Welsh Labour is united, despite divisions at Westminster

In his email, Mr Jones urged Labour members to help efforts to get as many councillors elected as possible.

Labour has a majority on 10 of the 22 county and borough councils and runs two others as the largest party.

He wrote: "Only Labour can deliver a fair deal for communities across Wales where prosperity is shared, public services are protected and the next generation are given the best start in life.

"But we need your help to spread the message that only a vote for Welsh Labour will stop the Tories from walking all over Wales."

Image caption Leanne Wood says Plaid has a good track record in local government

Plaid Cymru enjoys a majority on Gwynedd council and hopes to take full control of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, both of which it runs as a minority administration, and to make gains in the south Wales valleys.

Ms Wood said accused the Conservatives of being "hell-bent on making further cuts" while "internal fighting has left the Labour party in complete chaos".

"My message ahead of the local elections tomorrow is clear - consider the parties' record carefully and cast a vote for your community with a vote for Plaid Cymru," she said.

Image caption Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies has promised the party will "listen and deliver"

The Conservatives run Monmouthshire with Liberal Democrat support and hope to win a majority there. They will also seek to gains seats in areas including Swansea and Vale of Glamorgan.

Mr Davies called on voters to reject Labour's "record of failure" in favour of "greater localism and social responsibility".

"We believe that people should be trusted to do the right thing for their area," he said.

"My message to voters is this: if you want to better local services and more accountability then take back control of your community by voting Welsh Conservatives on 4 May."

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have 75 seats to defend and 280 candidates. The party hopes to regain lost ground in places including Cardiff and Swansea.

Image caption Mark Williams urged voters to give the Lib Dem candidates a chance

Welsh Lib Dem leader Mr Williams said his party could "lead real change to the benefit of our local communities and that's exactly what we can do and will do every day for our local communities.

"A vote for the Welsh Liberal Democrats is a vote for a party you can trust to stand up for you and your community.

"We will fight for stronger, more prosperous communities, more accountable councils and a liberal vision of Wales."

Image caption Gareth Bennett said UKIP wants to establish a council presence for the "first time"

UKIP candidates are promising referenda on contentious planning issues, to clamp down on "fat cat" salaries for bosses and return to the committee system of local government.

The party is fielding 80 candidates.

"Our aim would be to establish a presence at council level for the first time," UKIP local government spokesman Mr Bennett said.

"We want to give an opportunity to people to vote for a local UKIP candidate and establish that we are a force to be reckoned with in future local government elections."

Image copyright Wales Green Party
Image caption Grenville Ham said the Green Party brings "new ideas"

The Wales Green Party is fielding 78 candidates in the local elections and is defending one seat, pledging to fight for a cleaner environment, better air quality and investment in renewable and community energy schemes.

Mr Ham said his party was offering "an alternative to the old way of doing things" and bringing "new ideas and new energy to the table".

Independent councillors are defending 325 seats and have a significant presence at Flintshire, Ceredigion, Wrexham, Powys, Denbighshire, Conwy, Carmarthenshire, Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and Gwynedd.

More than 870 people are standing as independents or others in the elections.

All 22 Welsh local authorities are being elected on Thursday and voting takes place from 07:00 - 22:00 BST.

Most councils will count the results overnight, but nine will not start full counts until the next day.

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