The general election of 2017 was announced suddenly by Prime Minister Theresa May on April 18th. Nobody knew in advance what her major announcement would be, but a ‘snap election’ was called for June 8th, little under two months away.
Before the week was out Whitchurch Common in the constituency of Cardiff North saw the visit of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones. Hundreds flocked to see the Labour men give rousing speeches, but it was early days. Corbyn’s campaign was to gather significant momentum and widespread attention, particularly winning the support of younger people throughout the UK.
[Read the Composed piece: Jeremy Corbyn’s Cardiff North Rally]
Later in the campaign, First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones also gave his support to Caerphilly’s Labour MP Wayne David. Plaid Cymru party members visited my local GP surgery. Llyr Gruffydd AM and Cardiff West’s Plaid candidate Michael Deem popped into Woodlands Medical Centre to discuss GP shortages with one of the practice partners Dr Rhian Bartholomew.
The end of polling day on June 8th saw me in the affluent inner Cardiff suburb of Pontcanna, and St Catherine’s Church Hall. Final voters hurried to the door, the final dog at this particular polling station waited patiently with its master.
Shortly after 2.30am the first result was announced for Cardiff Central. Labour MP Jo Stevens had retained her seat. This was the first in a tide of red, as Jeremy Corbyn inspired Labour wins swept the city. Next came the most newsworthy story. Anna McMorrin took the Conservative seat of Craig Williams in Cardiff North. The delight of the first time MP and her team was palpable, and warmly shared with previous victor Jo Stevens.
Finally for this venue was Cardiff West, where Labour’s Kevin Brennan appeared to enjoy retaining his seat. In Cardiff South & Penarth, Steven Doughty completed a clean sweep for Labour.
[Read the Composed piece: General Election 2015 In South Wales]
It was a general election campaign like no other, as of course you might say every one is. But this was unique in being conducted under the violently shocking shadow of a spate of terrorist attacks and looming critical talks about Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, to say nothing of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe shortly afterwards. In recent months it feels like the remarkable has almost become unremarkable.
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