Carwyn Jones buoyant about Labour's election chances as he launches campaign

The First Minister was in bullish mood as the party got their Assembly bid under way at Barry Island

First Minister Carwyn Jones gave a speech on the esplanade at Whitmore Bay, Barry IslandFirst Minister Carwyn Jones gave a speech on the esplanade at Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

Buoyed by positive poll findings and good weather, Carwyn Jones launched Welsh Labour’s election campaign on Barry Island promenade on Tuesday.

He said: “I’d like to see our vote go up by a few percentage points yet. [The rise in the polls] does reflect what we’re hearing on the doorstep.

For the last week and a half particularly, we’ve seen people coming towards us.

“People who were Ukip voters last time are saying they’re not voting Ukip this time.

“And we’re finding Tory switchers, which we haven’t had for a while, if I’m honest.

“There’s unhappiness over what’s happening at Westminster for some of them, and some of the Ukip voters feel they made a protest vote the last time around. “There are various matters at play here, but from our point of view we’re not taking anything for granted.

“There’s still a lot of work to do if we’re going to get to 30 [seats]. It’s within our grasp, but we’ll need to work hard to get there.”

Despite attempts by opposition parties to portray Mr Jones as a lacklustre leader this week’s YouGov poll for ITV Wales and Cardiff University showed him to be the most popular politician in Wales.

Asked why the opposition parties’ efforts were out of kilter with polling evidence, he said: “People don’t believe them.

“It’s a campaign of fear at the end of the day. We don’t run entire campaigns against individuals – it’s a sign they’re afraid of you if they do that.

“Yes, we live in an age where people do look at party leaders and ask the question, ‘does this person look like the First Minister or look like a Prime Minister?’. We know it happened last year in the general election.

“I’ve been there as First Minister for six-and-a-half years so people know what I look like as a First Minister.

“It’s for the other parties to put their leaders forward to look the part.”

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