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Poll shows increased Labour lead in Wales

Labour has reached 40% support in Wales for the first time in recent polls Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 24-27, Sample: 1,189

The first Welsh opinion poll of the General Election campaign shows that Labour has slightly improved its position, reaching 40% for the first time in nearly a year. YouGov's latest Welsh Barometer Poll for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University still puts the party well below the 50% plus it was polling before UKIP support started to climb two years ago. But it's 4% higher than the 2010 General Election result.

If opinion doesn't shift further during the election campaign, that should be enough to deliver Labour a couple of extra seats on May 7. The Conservatives on 25% are just 1% down on the result five years ago and Plaid Cymru's 11% shows no change on 2010. Those figures put both parties on course for no overall change in the number of Welsh seats they hold.

The inequalities built into the electoral system mean that the Liberal Democrats, down 15% on 5% can still hope to hold on to at least one seat but UKIP, up 12% to 14% are not on course to break through in any Welsh constituencies. The Greens are similarly disadvantaged, despite being neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats in this poll.

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Hain calls politics "a mission" in final Commons speech

In his final speech in the House of Commons, Neath MP Peter Hain said politics is "not a career but a mission".

Hain used to final speech to pay tribute to his father. Credit: PA

The veteran Labour MP and two-time Welsh Secretary is standing down after 24 years. Hain also used his valedictory address to quote his father, who he described as the "best in the world" and Nelson Mandela.

"What counts in life is not merely the fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others."

– Peter Hain

He said he was proud of the achievements of the last Labour government - particularly bringing peace to Northern Ireland and devolution to Wales.

"It is not about a career, it is a mission. We should never be in it for ourselves but for our values. For me these are equality, social justice, equal opportunities, liberty and democracy in a society based on mutual care and mutual support, not the selfishness and greed now so sadly disfiguring Britain. Progressive change only comes through the combination of extra-parliamentary and parliamentary action."

– Peter Hain

Hain demands explanation of MP surveillence

On his last day in the House of Commons, Neath MP Peter Hain has demanded an explanation of why he and other MPs allegedly had police surveillance files kept open on them. He said it was hardly a revelation that the special branch had a file on people like him, dating back 40 years to his time as an anti-apartheid activist. But he was concerned at the suggestion that the file remained active after he became an MP in 1991.

Surely the fact that these files were still active for at least 10 years while we were MPs raises fundamental questions about parliamentary sovereignty and privilege—principles that are vital to our democracy. It is one thing to have a police file on an MP suspected of crime, child abuse or even co-operating with terrorism, but quite another to maintain one deriving from campaigns promoting values of social justice, human rights and equal opportunities that are shared by millions of British people. Surely that means travelling down a road that endangers the liberty of us all.

– Peter Hain MP

The claim about files on MPs was made by a former undercover police officer, Peter Francis. The minister responsible for the police, Mike Penning, said this was the kind of allegation that had led the Home Secretary to set up an inquiry under a senior judge.

Undercover policing is an essential tactic in fighting crime. However, we have known for some time that there have been serious historical failings in undercover policing and its practices. To improve the public’s confidence in undercover work, we must ensure that there is no repeat of these failings. That is why the Home Secretary established a public inquiry earlier this month -to investigate thoroughly undercover policing and the operation of the special demonstration squad

– Home Office Minister Mike Penning MP

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