General Election 2017: Young turnout 'remarkable'

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Jeremy CorbynImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
"Corbyn factor" helped secure young voters, said Prof Laura McAllister

Young voters have been key to Labour's successes in the general election in Wales and beyond, according to politicians and academics.

Albert Owen, who retained the marginal Ynys Mon seat for Labour, attributed his victory to a young vote.

And Ben Lake, Wales' youngest MP at 24, who took Ceredigion for Plaid Cymru, said young people "created excitement" in his local campaign.

The overall turnout out in Wales this year was 68.6%, up from 65.6% in 2015.

But figures showing the turnout broken down by age group will not be published until next week.

Prof Laura McAllister, based at Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre, told BBC Radio Wales that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had managed to attract 18-25-year-olds to vote.

The party took back Gower, Cardiff North and Vale of Clwyd from the Tories and they also fought off fierce Tory battles for Bridgend and Wrexham, winning 28 seats, three more than 2015.

Prof McAllister added: "It looks like we have seen a kind of parity now between young people, 18-25-year-olds, voting in almost the same numbers the groups that have historically always been relied upon to go out and vote which is the 55 to 65.

"And if that is the case, and I think it is certainly the case in some key constituencies, then that is a remarkable turnaround and probably down to the Corbyn factor by and large in terms of how the election has gone."

Image source, Plaid Cymru
Image caption,
Plaid's Ben Lake, 24, took the Ceredigion seat

Mr Owen said a number of young people had registered with Labour for the first time, to help the party's campaign.

"One of the things I'm going to do as the MP now is to get a youth forum and crystallise that enthusiasm that they've got so young people's voices get heard loud and clear in Westminster," he said.

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones partly attributed the night's successes to young voters, saying "one of the things that Jeremy did is capture young voters".

"For years young people have felt ignored, they've thought 'let's not bother to vote, they're not listening to us anyway,' he said.

"Yesterday was a turning point and that's why it's important to continue to listen to young people and do right by them."

New Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin said: "Young people wanted change; they saw Labour was going to offer that change."

Plaid Cymru's Mr Lake, who defeated the Lib Dem's leader in Wales to take Ceredigion, said: "It was really great to see so many youngsters come out to help me over the course of the campaign so I think that created a certain type of excitement that was just enough to tip us over the line."