Election 2017

Conservative campaign 'too personal' says senior Tory AM

Darren Millar
Image caption Darren Millar said it would have been better for the Conservatives to present a positive message

A senior Welsh Conservative AM has said the Tory general election campaign was "too personal" and focused too much on Jeremy Corbyn.

The Tories had hoped to make big gains in Wales but lost three seats instead.

Darren Millar said it would have been much better for the Conservatives to have presented a "positive vision" for the future.

But David Davies, re-elected as Tory MP for Monmouth, said it was too early to say what the reasons might be.

The UK now has a hung parliament following the 8 June snap election, with the Conservatives the largest party but unable to govern as a majority.

Clwyd West AM Mr Millar told BBC Wales' general election programme: "I think one of the other things which I think we've made an error with is focusing very much on the personality that is Jeremy Corbyn.

"I don't like that sort of campaigning.

"It would have been much better presenting a positive vision for the future."

He suggested that local campaigning was why the party had done well in Wales in the 2015 general election.

He added: "I take my hat off to Jeremy Corbyn. He got out and engaged and motivated people.

"I don't think it's a bad thing that all parts of the House Commons have to be listened to in the Brexit negotiation process."

Image caption Stephen Crabb said the country "wanted to talk about other issues" than Brexit

Former Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb, who was re-elected in Preseli Pembrokeshire with a majority of 314, said: "The motivations for doing this election were entirely right and proper, to strengthen the position of the United Kingdom before going into what will prove to be the most difficult set of international negotiations we've faced since the Second World War.

"Clearly something has gone wrong because the country has wanted to talk about other issues at this election time.

"They wanted to raise other concerns and there are a whole lot of new voters who were less concerned about Brexit and more concerned about issues to do with quality of life and their economic security into the future."

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

It was a dreadful night for Conservatives in Wales.

The bitter recriminations will now begin everywhere, and the Tory HQ in Cardiff will be no exception.

They made great play of Theresa May campaigning in Labour-held target seats in Bridgend, Wrexham and Clwyd South, and in the end they did not seriously challenge in any of them.

With hindsight, Mrs May would have been better off shoring up support in Cardiff North, Gower and Vale of Clwyd.

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