How does Plaid Cymru affect anti-Brexit vote in Wales?

by Luke Lythgoe | 31.05.2017

A vote against a destructive Brexit in England means either backing the Greens, Lib Dems, Labour Remainers or dedicated anti-Brexit Tories. In Wales, an additional party, Plaid Cymru, complicates the picture. We have analysed all the seats, and in four constituencies it makes sense to vote for the Welsh nationalist party.

How should you vote?

Plaid does not advocate a second referendum on the Brexit final deal, but it does want to keep Wales in the single market. This makes the party less pro-European than the Lib Dems or Greens, both of which favour a second referendum, but more pro-European than Labour or the Conservatives, whose policies both accept leaving the single market as a necessary price of Brexit.

InFacts table showing Plaid Cymru election battlegrounds

Plaid won three seats in 2015. In each, the party had a majority of 14 to 18 percentage points – solid but by no means super-safe. In Dwyfor Meirionnydd the closest challenger is the Conservatives; in Arfon and Carmarthen East, the threat comes from Labour. Pro-Europeans should back the Welsh nationalists in all these seats.

Meanwhile, there are two seats Plaid could win. In one, Ynys Mon, it is facing Labour, which held the constituency by just 229 votes in 2015. But the Tories also have a chance, especially if they can pick up the bulk of Ukip’s 5,000-plus votes. Bookmakers say Plaid has the best chance of winning. Given this and the fact that the party is more pro-European than Labour, those wanting to stop a destructive Brexit should rally round the Welsh nationalist candidate, Ieuan Wyn Jones.

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Plaid also have a shot in Ceredigion. However, here the sitting MP is a Lib Dem. It make sense for pro-Europeans to back him.

Failing a total wipeout for Labour, Plaid has no chance of winning any other seats. But Wales has a number of remain-voting Labour MPs who are vulnerable to the Conservatives. Pro-Europeans should use their votes in those constituencies to hold back the Tory surge. But, in rock-solid Labour seats, it may be best to support the Greens or Lib Dems. Find out how with our voting guide.

Edited by Hugo Dixon