It's over

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 05:59 PM

And it's over. SNP 47. Labour 46. Tory 17. LibDem 16. Greens 2. Margo Macdonald 1.

No coalition on the cards - unless SNP, LibDems and Greens can bury their differences.

Looks like SNP minority - if that can be achieved. Key point - that means an SNP referendum Bill would be doomed to fail.

Lights back on

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 05:38 PM

On my feet, just about.

Time only for a quick update from a Senedd that is filling up with the 15 strong Plaid Group downstairs and I've spotted a very jolly Jonathan Morgan. Dai Llewellyn apparently shook his hand warmly at the Cardiff North count, said he was a lovely bloke and that "if I wasn't wearing this rosette I'd have voted for you."

I gather Rhodri Morgan, Peter Hain and Labour big hitters are meeting this afternoon in Transport House. Not officially to discuss last night's results according to the party but hard to believe they won't share a few thoughts on where they go from here ...

Someone else has been having a meeting too. Don't forget how crucial the support of Lib Dem council leaders and groups will be to any deal Mike German may want to strike with Labour. It's not just AMs he'll have to worry about and if Peter Black's blog is anything to go by, he'll have his work cut out there too.

Four council leaders have met already and and are of the same mind: that Mr German should talk to all the parties before making any moves towards coalition and that he should not have a preferred partner in mind.

Let the talking begin ... jsut as long as we get to hear about it ... and when everyone's had some sleep.

Inquiry promise

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:54 PM

Alex Salmond has said that Labour has lost the moral right to dominate Scotland.

Speaking in Edinburgh, he said that, if given the chance to lead, he would take Scotland forward with humility, in the interests of Scotland.

Mr Salmond also said that - if installed as First Minister - he would immediately announce a judicial inquiry into the voting confusion.

Adding up time

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:16 PM

More gossip.

How about 46 Labour (if they make that) plus 16 LibDems (if they make that) plus three Green (if THEY make that.) That adds up to 65. That adds up, just, to a coalition majority. Possible? Right now, almost anything's possible

Do it all again?

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:04 PM

So who's going to win, then? More accurately, who's going to be the largest party at Holyrood? Right now, maybe, perhaps, it could just be the SNP.

Couple of constituencies to go - plus a couple of lists where they started the night ahead of Labour.

Either way, don't expect an early coalition deal. Labour plus LibDem doesn't equal a majority. I can't see the LibDems putting up with the compromises of coalition if it doesn't add up to actual control of Parliament.

That would be responsbility without power. Ditto SNP plus LibDems. So either the largest party has a stab at minority - perhaps with "understanding" from other parties. Or we run the elections again.

The Sky's The Limit

  • Mark Devenport
  • 4 May 07, 03:22 PM

After a brief period off air, to allow my Welsh and Scottish colleagues to monopolise the system, I'm back in blogland. Sitting in the Stormont Great Hall this morning waiting for an interview with Ian Paisley, I was treated to some entertainment from "Sky's the Limit" a performance troupe of young adults with special needs. They were rehearsing for Tuesday's ceremony, to be attended by Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern and - it seems - Senator Ted Kennedy.

It's all systems go at Stormont with workers erecting marquees and press stands. But interviewed for Inside Politics, Ian Paisley injects a bit of uncertainty into the proceedings. He warns Gordon Brown that so far the peace dividend is insufficient. And he says in no uncertain terms that the DUP's participation in Tuesday's "pantomime" cannot be taken for granted.

Personally I can't see the DUP walking away from Tuesday, but it may serve their interests to try to keep the Treasury guessing about their intentions.

Ah bourach

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 12:51 PM

Let's cut to the chase here re: this voting guddle. There was a big problem getting out the correct number of postal ballots. There was a huge challenge for voters in filling in the ballot forms. There was then a problem with e-counting.

That means the authorities are saying:

1. we couldn't get all the ballot papers out
2. they were so complex, folk couldn't fill them in
3. when they finally filled them in, we couldn't count the blasted things!

There's a splendid Gaelic word, bourach. It means an utter, hideous mess. This is bourach, Mach Five.

Signing off

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 06:18 AM

When the counters are sent home, I think it may be time to sign off.

Two big stories to come in the Vale of Glamorgan and in Bridgend... but always good to leave your audience wanting more!

Nos/Bore da!

A warm welcome

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 06:04 AM

The Welsh Assembly has its first AM from an ethnic minority. Welcome to Mohammed Asghar AM.

But something else to chew on: the BNP came within 2580 votes of winning a seat on the North Wales regional list.

Tommy Sheridan out

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 05:44 AM

And Tommy Sheridan is out!

He has failed to win on the list in Glasgow - as did Rosie Kane, his former colleague.

Four seats on the list in Glasgow for the SNP - including Scotland's first MSP from a Scots-Asian background, Bashir Ahmad.

A quiz for you

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 05:36 AM

What do 5,500 jobs in St Athan get you, if you're the Labour AM in the Vale of Glamorgan?

Answer: a third recount.

Looking ahead

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 05:32 AM

After all the sound and fury...


Labour: 26
Plaid: 14
Conservative: 12
Lib Dems: 7
Independent: 1

Coalition talk

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 05:28 AM

You've hated it throughout the campaign, though you'll have heard plenty of it. Now that we DO have facts - not all the facts, granted but some facts - I'm surely allowed to whisper the word at least.

IF the Vale of Glamorgan goes Conservative and Carmarthen West, then Labour will be shoved a step nearer Mike German's door. Who might he take with him to a Labour-led cabinet? Jenny Randerson, or Kirsty Williams: both scored huge victories tonight. Mind you there's the deputy presiding officer job up for grabs...

Election 'total mess'

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 05:20 AM

Count at Eastwood suspended.

Count at Edinburgh in jeopardy.

This is a total mess.

Sheridan may be out

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:59 AM

More on the minors.

Gossip - and it is just that - is that Tommy Sheridan may not be elected in Glasgow.

At the very least, it's marginal at the moment.

Vote supension 'disgrace'

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:44 AM

And so in Bishopbriggs they've suspended the count in Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

That is because the computer system cannot validate the votes that have been counted so far.

That adds to problems elsewhere.

This is, frankly, a disgrace.

Patterns emerging?

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 04:37 AM

I'm back to rumours but might John Marek's hold on Wrexham have been loosened by Labour?

Independents have been doing well all night - in fact all campaign - but Labour's blogger, Lesley Griffiths is looking pretty relaxed.

Could we really be down to just the one indy in Cardiff Bay? It'll be a lonely old place for Trish Law... and Cardiff Bay's tea room really wouldn't be the same place without Mr Marek holding court.

Patterns emerging?

Labour's lost significantly on percentages but just swung it in more seats than they might have thought four hours ago. You get the feeling Rhodri Morgan will still be around after next week if he wants to be. Yma o hyd Rhodri, outlasting Tony Blair.

The Lib Dems must be glad they booked that room in Llandrindod for a pow-wow on Sunday.

Plaid? Still not getting anywhere near breaking out of their heartlands.

And the Tories? Best is yet to come for them perhaps.

Hang on in there. Well you've stayed up this late!

Struggle for socialists

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:19 AM

Looks like the wee parties are getting squeezed out on the list.

John Swinburne of the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party reckons it's looking tough for him at least.

But he says "hope springs eternal".

If he loses, he's off to his caravan.

Re the others, the two Socialist parties (SSP and Solidarity) seem to be struggling.

The Greens could slip back from their present seven seats.

More to come, though.

Rejected papers 'disastrous'

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:03 AM

More on the voting system.

Robin Harper of the Greens - whose party look to be struggling - has called the figures on rejected ballot papers "disastrous".

One of my readers has told me that they were given advice to fold their ballot paper - despite the guidance, nationally, that they shouldn't.

This is a serious guddle.

Lib Dems 'do it again'

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 04:00 AM

And so they've done it again.

The Lib Dems have taken Dunfermline West from Labour - just as they did in the Westminster by-election last year.

Language matters

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 04:00 AM

I used to teach Welsh to adults in Risca. From listening to the returning officer in Newport, I should have started an extra class there too.

Come on Newport! This is insulting. Huw Edwards is threatening to turn down the sound in the studio. Don't tell me you couldn't have found a decent learner or a native speaker SOMEWHERE?

Sturgeon wins Govan seat

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 03:48 AM

And so Alex's deputy is back too!

Nicola Sturgeon has won Glasgow Govan - that seat of historic memories.

She took the seat from Gordon Jackson.

As predicted

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 03:47 AM

So as predicted, the rumble for the Tumble was won by Plaid and a far more stateswomanlike win than in 1999.

And Roger Scully? You must be a very good tutor. Your students were BANG on! 51% and 35% it was.

And talking about good news for Plaid Aberconwy looking good for them... and will they push Alun Pugh into third in Clwyd West? Less good for them? Bye bye any chances Dafydd Wigley ever had of making it to Cardiff.

And Carmarthen West is tight but might the Tories edge it? Another woman heading to Cardiff Bay if so.

Right - better start composing.

So farewell then Alun Pugh.
Your Christmas card cost you dearly.

More to come... bad jokes about bikes etc...

But another Alun, Alun Davies must now be on his way to Cardiff as Labour's list man in Mid and West. That vineyard will just have to wait a bit Alun.

Time to gossip

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 03:22 AM

Is there really a chance that Labour could lose their deposit in Ceredigion?

Mind you if the Lib Dems have time to gossip, must mean they've given up on winning the seat from Plaid...

'Wind of change'

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 03:13 AM

A wind of change blowing through Scottish politics.

Alex Salmond's description of the night's results.

A deliberate echo of Harold Macmillan's famous speech about Africa?

I think so - I think the SNP leader was reflecting that Labour has led in Scotland for 50 years.

Since Macmillan was Prime Minister.

Salmond returns as MSP

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 03:10 AM

He's back!

Alex Salmond has won Gordon, coming from third place.

The rest of the night will determine whether he returns, leading the largest party.

Mr Salmond condemned the confusion which has resulted in thousands of votes being rejected.

Quick change

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 03:06 AM

Vale of Clwyd goes something like this...

Labour ahead by 50... oh no,
Tories ahead by 11... oh no,
Labour hold by 92.

That's what I call marginal.

Time to move

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 03:03 AM

Remember I told you yesterday about that press officer who was worried what his boss would find when he came back to Cardiff Bay (yes when, not if - he's loyal)... because his ministerial office had been stripped bare?

Well he's back. Andrew Davies has taken Swansea West. Lib Dems a very good second, again.

Get that furniture back in boys...

The London papers

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 02:46 AM

Why does Peter Hain think Labour may be facing "a difficult night" in Wales?

His view: "Ninety per cent of morning papers in Wales are produced in London rather than in Wales. It's been very difficult for us to get our message across against a difficult national background, and that has obviously affected us in a number of key seats, and we'll have to see how they turn out."

Phew. Not complaining about us... yet!

Tory candidate setback

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 02:44 AM

That result in Dumfries - where Labour won - is a huge personal setback for the Tory candidate, Murray Tosh.

He's been an MSP since 1999 but is now almost certainly out of Parliament because he's lowly ranked on the tory list in the south of Scotland.

Mr Tosh was the deputy presiding officer in the last Parliament.

Fairer, greener Wales

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 02:37 AM

A week is a long time in politics... a couple of hours is enough to make me think that the LDs won't quite get Newport East but that if they don't, that means instead of NO Mr German, it COULD mean Mr AND Mrs German in Cardiff Bay.

Would they get to sit next to each other? It'd save on the petrol anyway... fairer, greener Wales and all that.

Craigie beats the odds

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 02:36 AM

Cathie Craigie has held Cumbernauld against all the odds.

It was the top SNP target - at least among Labour seats.

So big swings across Scotland to the SNP - but this a disappointment for the SNP.

Salmond set to win seat

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 02:28 AM

Tip from the north-east is that Alex Salmond has managed to take Gordon - from third place behind the Tories and the incumbent LibDems.

Who's behind?

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 02:23 AM

50 votes in it in the Vale of Clwyd so it's recount time.

But who ASKED for a recount? In other words who's behind by 50 votes.

The Tories I hear.

No advert for democracy

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 02:04 AM

The majority for Labour in Airdrie was 1446.

The number of rejected ballot papers was 1536.

Nobody is suggesting that all of those rejected papers were for Labour's rival, the SNP.

But it is scarcely a good advert for democracy.

Hey - a result!!

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 02:01 AM

Sorry to mention Newport East again - never thought it would take over my blog - but Lib Dems think they may just have missed out. Mr German will be... well what? Disappointed or ever so slightly relieved?

Hey. A result!!

Academic exercise

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 01:57 AM

I think I can now reveal what a group of students - studying Welsh and UK Politics at Aberystwyth and doing a course on polls - came up with when they had a bit of a practice in Llanelli a few weeks ago. (Just 300 people and just practising, remember.)

We took one look and thought they might scrape a 2:2.

They were:

Plaid 51%
Labour 35%
Tories 9%
Lib Dems 5%

No result yet but keep this to hand when it comes in.

They may yet deserve a first. Hear that Mr Scully?

SNP falling short?

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 01:53 AM

For now, of course, we're only getting constituencies.

And it looks - maybe, perhaps - as if the SNP may fall short of their ambition of taking 20 new seats.

However, gossip - and it is just that at this stage - suggests that the SNP may be performing well on the top-up regional list by contrast with 2003 where they slumped badly in this section.

Long way to go.

Flooding in

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 01:43 AM


The very next email that came in after I mentioned things flooding in was an offer of cut-price Viagra.

Wonderfully well-timed spam there! Spooky.

Near and far

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 01:40 AM

Sheffield... Australia... your comments are flooding in from near and far.

At least something's flooding in. Come on - a result! Please!

Coalition talk already?

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 01:22 AM

Rumours coming in from Bridgend. The man with the quietest blog in Wales - Carwyn Jones - might be getting nervous. The Tories say they're pushing him close.

Now what did Rhodri Morgan mean when he said that Labour will do 'the right thing' for Wales? Coalition talk already... before any results are in?

The best stories

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 01:15 AM

Nia G did indeed do better... much better. Hats off to her for such honesty. The people ganged up on us and gave us a kicking.

Just read that the SNP have narrowly missed winning a target seat. Any chance we in Wales - and not Scotland - will do it again and confound everyone by coming up with some of the best stories of the night?

All depends on those list seats and whether they keep the Labour fat out of the fire... keep counting.

First SNP gain

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 01:14 AM

First SNP gain of the night as they take Dundee West.

Over 1,000 papers rejected

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 01:10 AM

1195 rejected ballot papers in Glasgow Kelvin - won by Pauline McNeill for Labour.

This is becoming a story of the night.

Not the story, but A story.

A scoop

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 01:08 AM

Just stopped talking about Radio Cymru's scoop and can get typing again.

Nia Griffith MP has thrown in the Llanelli towel.

Nice one Radio Cymru.

Now she's telling our viewers they've lost Llanelli because the Lib Dems chose a candidate from Cardiff (son of the man making headway in Newport East by the way... yes, I've done my homework).

Come on Nia... you can come up with something better than that.

Question over first minister

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 01:00 AM

"The leader of the largest party will be in poll position to become first minister" - Jack McConnell.

But he declined to speculate on what might happen.

Caution urged over swing

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 12:55 AM

Jack McConnell says we should be cautious not to read too much into the 7% swing in the SNP's favour in his constituency.

However, repeating that swing across Scotland would bring several Labour seats into the SNP camp.

Early gossip from Paisley, though, is that the SNP may fall short in taking Paisley South.

Increase in spoilt papers

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 12:47 AM

Big number of spoilt papers in Motherwell and Wishaw under the new counting system.

Some 970 invalid papers, that's 3.7% of the system.

Much more than usual in the past.

Douglas Alexander, the Scottish Secretary, says he has already requested an inquiry into apparent problems getting postal ballots out to voters.

Maybe a wider inquiry will now be needed.

Schadenfreude anyone?

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 12:37 AM

To those of you watching us and not listening to Garry and co on Radio Cymru, we've all missed him telling listeners that he think Labour will do worse than when he was Labour leader in Wales.

Schadenfreude anyone? And not a parachute in sight.

McConnell holds seat

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 12:32 AM

Jack McConnell has held Motherwell and Wishaw with a reduced share of the vote.

SNP second, seven per cent swing to them.

Welsh-speaking Tories

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 12:26 AM

Ceredigion is tight... Caerphilly is tight... rumour is that Preseli Pembrokeshire is not. Might we gain another Welsh-speaking Tory before the night is out? Radio Cymru producers would be cockahoop!

So. How low will Labour go? Is Ken Skates starting to think that 27 was a bit generous? All depends on whether they've got their vote out and can regain on the roundabouts what they look like they may lose on the swings.

Does 25 count as good or bad? Remember that Rhodri Morgan said he would 'know' what a bad night was and would go. The suggestion made to me tonight was that 25 now counted as good enough.

What do you think?

Bets are on

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 12:00 AM

Put your money where your mouth is.

Patrick Harvie of the Greens has £50 riding on a bet that his party will get more seats than the seven they achieved last time.

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