Dr Honeyman speaks to BBC Radio Wales about the election campaign
Reflecting on the previous week for the general election, Dr Victoria Honeyman commented on how she believed there was an expectation that the Conservative party would steal a march on everyone else.
As someone who watches these things carefully, she expected some weak and wobbly moments that we seem to now be seeing from the Conservatives: “Strong and stable was almost becoming quite boring and repetitive to hear. Weak and wobbly, and the dementia tax short phrases, are really getting through to people.”
Victoria highlighted the significance of the week’s tragic event in Manchester: “As tragic as it is and as much as I hope nobody wishes to make politics of it, there is a sense that when there are national disasters people do respond to that, the way that they look to their leaders. This may serve Theresa May slightly better; it’s taking the attention off what was going on, it’s brought her to the fore as the national leader.”
The conversation then turned to the idea third parties could cash in on Conservative and Labour mistakes. Victoria suggested both the big parties have made some mistakes but that despite these we’ve not really seen a third party breaking through “unless we count the SNP in Scotland but we already saw that with 56 out of 59 MPs in the last general election.” When asked about the other main UK parties, Victoria highlighted the lack of gains:
We’re not really seeing the Liberal Democrats pick up in the way we expected. They seem to be really struggling in the polls and don’t seem to be able to grab any of those lose voters that might be losing faith in Labour or the Conservatives. We’re not seeing UKIP do well, and the Green Party don’t seem to be able to make any in-ways into this.
The interview then looked to what might unfold in the last week of the election campaign. When questioned about whether Labour are making up ground because people thought the Conservatives were going to win, Victoria reminded us that, “the Conservative strategy right from the beginning has been to talk up the idea of a Labour success in an attempt to pull people to the Conservatives to suggest 'You don’t really want Labour going well, you don’t want our majority cutting, you want us to be successful'. So you’ve had the two main parties essentially talking up the Labour party.”
On Friday we should know what government will lead us through this difficult period for the UK. Whilst the election was called at a time when Theresa May was in a very strong position, the narrowing polls suggest “Labour might be able to pull it out of the bag right at the last minute. I don’t think it’s likely but it’s a possibility.”
Listen to the full interview here (available on iPlayer Radio until 26 June 2017)