Wales Election 2016

Wales Election 2016: Party highlights and lowlights

All the Welsh party leaders

The polls, debates, hustings, manifestos, photo ops and visits are all over.

Now the polls have shut, what have been the best and worst moments for the parties during a month of campaigning?


Image caption Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood

High point - Leanne Wood pushing the first minister into the same ground as Plaid on steel

For some time Carwyn Jones' government has dismissed the idea of a Welsh stake in Tata Steel's UK operation, as proposed by Plaid Cymru. But that seemed partially forgotten when Leanne Wood pressed Carwyn Jones at the ITV Wales leaders' debate on whether his party would take such action.

Mr Jones said the Welsh Government would be prepared to take an equity stake to save the Port Talbot steelworks if it was "affordable".

The concession came with that final caveat, but was enough to be the story of the night.

Low point - efficiency 'uncertainty'

Plaid Cymru made much of work by academics Brian Morgan and Gerald Holtham in independently checking their manifesto.

The document said the "overall income projections and the estimated costings" seemed to be "reasonable", but also warned of "uncertainty" over proposed efficiency savings. The party planned £300m in efficiencies in the NHS.

"It is certainly the case raising these sums from efficiency gains is not going to be easy or painless," they said.


High point - solid TV performances from the leader

Andrew RT Davies put in confident performances in leaders' debates held on ITV and the BBC.

He focused on Welsh Labour's record on public services and, in the final six-way debate, aggressively pushed Carwyn Jones over the cancer drugs fund.

Low point - broadcasters banned from Davies-Cameron event

It seemed somewhat of a snub when the prime minister visited Gower constituency but denied broadcasters access.

The move appeared designed to avoid the PM having to answer questions on the junior doctors' strike, but it had the effect that Mr Davies was not seen on news bulletins alongside the prime minister.

Seen in the context of the continued divisions in the Conservative party on the upcoming referendum - with the prime minister in the remain camp and Mr Davies backing the Leave campaign - questions about a rift remain.


Image caption Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones

High point - Westminster troubles

Carwyn Jones was lucky early on, with Westminster troubles putting the UK Conservative government on the back foot.

Whether it was the EU, tax, the junior doctors strike - all generated headlines which served Labour well and Tories ill.

But that can be a double-edged sword, as we discovered with the decision for Jeremy Corbyn to stay away from Wales amid the anti-Semitism row.

Low point - Carwyn Jones forced to deny Welsh health care 'second-rate'

Mr Jones found himself on the back foot during the BBC Wales Leaders' debate, when a teacher from Cardiff forced the Welsh Labour leader to defend his health-service record.

Angharad Roche said she was disappointed at Welsh Labour's record on cancer treatment and angrily told Mr Jones: "When I voted for devolution which I did and I was proud to do so, I did not expect to have second-rate health care in this country."

Mr Jones said cancer patients got treatment more quickly in Wales than in England, despite the latter's cancer drugs fund.


High point - Kirsty Williams' resilient debate performances

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams worked hard to have her small party's voice heard in the 2016 campaign and performed well in TV debates.

Carwyn Jones had held off from attacking the Lib Dems, but Ms Williams did not reciprocate - pressing the first minister on education during the ITV Wales leaders' debate.

At the BBC Wales event, she focused her fire on Nathan Gill of UKIP and his policy on grammar schools.

Low point - other parties deem them irrelevant

Neither Labour, the Tories, Plaid Cymru nor UKIP spent much of their time attacking the Liberal Democrats. There was very little attention on the party from their rivals.

It either suggests others hope to co-operate with Ms Williams after the campaign, or they consider the party so irrelevant to the overall result they do not think there's any mileage in bothering.


High point - the manifesto

UKIP has, in the past, been labelled a single-issue party with not much to say beyond the European Union.

But for this campaign, Mark Reckless has appeared to answer that criticism with a manifesto full of policies relevant to the devolved bodies.

That in itself is an achievement for a group which failed to win representation to the assembly at the last election.

Low point - would Nathan Gill have chosen Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton as candidates? 'Probably not'

It is pretty unheard-of for a Welsh group leader to go into an assembly campaign criticising his own colleagues, but the row over the selection of candidates spilled out on to primetime TV when Mr Gill suggested he might not have picked either to run alongside him.

The comments threw fuel on a row, which had been brewing for months, with Mr Hamilton's wife Christine calling Mr Gill a "third-rate general" on Twitter.

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