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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
Leaders assess election shake-up
Peter Hain

Welsh party leaders have been reacting to the election results, as Labour won an historic third-term victory.

Neath MP Peter Hain said it was "a great performance" from Labour, which won 29 out of 40 seats in Wales.

Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd said that losing one seat - from four to three - was "a bitter blow".

Lib Dem Lembit Ípik said his party was now Wales's official opposition in Westminster. Tory Bill Wiggin said winning three seats was "a good start".

Mr Hain said that the people of Wales had "overwhelmingly backed Labour again".

"They have endorsed the strong partnership between the UK Labour government at Westminster and the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff," he added

Elfyn Llwyd
Elfyn Llwyd said the party needed to do a lot of work now

"This is a great performance at the end of two full terms of Labour government."

Mr Llwyd, Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader, said he was disappointed at the party's loss of Ceredigion and failure to win Anglesey.

"It has been a bitter blow, but it is a bitter blow we will have to learn from and strengthen our team and our approach and maybe change our approach I don't know," he said.

"A lot of work needs to be done, that will have to start now.

"I am not making light work of it, I am very disappointed but I have been disappointed before and we came stronger out of adversity.

"If 1,200 votes had gone the other way, we would have won Ynys Mon and held Ceredigion, so let's not start being overdramatic - 1,200 votes made all the difference.

Lembit Opik MP
Lembit Opik said people had voted against Labour because they were disillusioned

"We must sit down and seriously look at that issue amongst everything I can assure you over the coming weeks and we will obviously be doing so. We want to obviously do well in the 2007 elections."

Mr Ípik said it was "a delightful surprise" to win Ceredigion from Plaid.

"We're obviously growing in numbers in Westminster, and although it sounds like a mantra, I really do think we are the real alternative to the Conservatives and Labour party, who do seem to be converging in many of their policies.

"People voted against Labour because they were disillusioned.

"Let's also remember the rude mathematics of Wales, while Labour clearly still has the majority, Plaid Cymru and the Tories are on three seats and the Liberal Democrats are on four seats, making us the second party of Wales in Westminster.

Bill Wiggin
Bill Wiggin said three MPs was "a tremendous step forward"

"We are now the official opposition when it comes to Westminster MPs."

Conservative Shadow Welsh Secretary Bill Wiggin said he was looking forward to working with the three new Tory MPs.

"Three seats is a good start - I would like to have won more of course, but that is a tremendous step forward for us.

"I am delighted because of the quality of the candidates that we have put up - they are going to make a big difference in the House of Commons.

"It is going to be a very different Parliament. Labour struggled to get its legislation through [in the last term], so it is going to be an interesting and different parliament this time."

Mr Wiggin said it was "a pity" that Michael Howard would not be fighting the next general election as Conservative leader.

"He has done a tremendous job, he has set a fantastic example to young Conservative MPs like myself, so I am very sad about this."