First blood to Labour in Welsh Assembly elections


Labour has claimed the first seat of the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.

The party, which is looking to have a record fifth term in office, saw Carl Sargeant holding on to his Alyn and Deeside seat.

Mr Sargeant romped home to chalk up the first constituency win of the night with 9,922 votes (45.7%).

But the night is to be far from plain sailing for Labour.

Party leader Carwyn Jones admitted voters expressed "concerns" about a row over anti-Semitism in the party during campaigning.

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has been suspended by Labour amid claims he made "vile" comments saying Hitler supported Zionism. 

And political veteran Julie Morgan admitted she did not feel confident she would retain her Cardiff North seat.

A YouGov/ITV Wales poll on the eve of the election predicted Labour would win 27 seats - three fewer than in 2011.

There are 60 seats in the assembly - and a party needs to win 31 or more to win an outright majority, something which has never happened since the institution's inception in 1999.

Meanwhile the 2016 assembly election looks set to be a memorable one for Ukip, which has never before had an AM.

The anti-EU party, which was also, until recently, anti-Welsh Assembly, is predicted to win eight seats. 

Its leader in Wales, Nathan Gill, claimed UKIP was the "Leicester City of politics".

He added: "We were written off five years ago and look how well we are doing now."

But Labour MP's for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock believes Ukip would unravel in front of the public if it won seats in the Senedd.

Mr Kinnock, son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, said: "They would come under the microscope and people would see them for what they really are: a rag-tag bunch with dubious histories."

Shortly after 3am, Labour made it a hat-trick of wins after winning Delyn and the Vale of Clwyd, but saw its share of the vote drop from 2011 by 5.2% and 11.2% respectively.

And around half an hour later Carwyn Jones's party notched up another trio of wins: holding on to Swansea East, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney as well as Wrexham.

The Wrexham win was an important one for Labour as it meant as well as holding on to a key seat it also retained Lesley Griffiths - an AM who was a cabinet minister during the fourth Assembly.