April 24, 2017, 5 p.m.
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The Conservatives are 10 points ahead of Labour in Wales, where Labour has won the largest share of votes in every general election since 1922, according to a new poll. The YouGov poll puts the Conservatives at 40 per cent in Wales, with Labour at 30 per cent, Plaid Cymru at 13 per cent, the Liberal Democrats at 8 per cent and Ukip at 6 per cent.
Like England, Wales voted to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum and Ukip made gains in a subsequent Welsh assembly election. Ukip’s collapse into chaos in recent months appears to have benefited the Conservatives, while traditional Labour voters are unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Mr Corbyn’s approach to nuclear weapons remained under the spotlight for a second day on Monday, with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon urging the Labour leader to agree to scrapping the Trident nuclear programme for good. Conservatives portrayed Mr Corbyn as soft on defence when he said he ruled out the first use of nuclear weapons but Ms Sturgeon said his refusal to get rid of Trident altogether showed he was too weak for government.
“Labour on Trident is as confused as Labour is on so many other issues. That gets to the heart of Labour’s lack of credibility as an alternative government. The SNP opposes Trident, not just in principle, but at a time when our public services and the vulnerable in our society are under so much pressure, spending tens of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction is the wrong choice,” she said.
“Labour should have the guts to simply say that. It’s what we’re told Jeremy Corbyn believes so he should have the courage of his convictions and say it.”
Ms Sturgeon also attacked Theresa May on Monday, accusing the prime minister of calling the election to draw attention away from a criminal investigation into alleged election fraud by the Conservatives in the 2015 general election.
Mr Corbyn sought to shift the campaign focus away from defence, telling the Scottish Trade Union Conference how a Labour government would strengthen workers’ rights. The Communist Party of Britain said that, for the first time since 1920, it would not stand candidates at the election, calling on its members to back Labour candidates.
The Communist Party’s general secretary Robert Griffiths said the decision was aimed at bolstering the Labour left in any internal party struggle after the election.
“The maximum possible Labour vote is necessary not only to secure the election of a Labour government. We also recognise that this election marks a further intensification of the left-right struggle within the labour movement and the Labour party. The higher the Labour vote and the number of Labour MPs elected, the more secure will be the position of Jeremy Corbyn and his left allies in the parliamentary Labour party,” he said.
Ukip, which has seen its fortunes slide since last year’s EU referendum, on Monday unveiled a number of policy proposals targeting Britain’s Muslims. They include a ban on wearing the full-face veil in public and mandatory, intimate medical checks for girls judged to be at risk of female genital mutilation.