It was Labour’s Carwyn Jones who occupied the most central lectern on stage at Stanwell Schools 250 seat auditorium last night . He opened the debate and also had the last word

It was the impressive 250-seat, banked auditorium of Penarth’s Stanwell School which provided the “secret” venue for last night’s live 2-hour ITV Wales Election Debate.

The venue was well-chosen, looked good,  and is now likely to find itself on the location-list for future editions of Question Time, Any Questions and other such peripatetic panel programmes – if it isn’t already on them.

The five party leaders appeared an lecterns bearing their party colours. The moderator Adrian Masters’s was plain white.

The host and the five party leaders were positioned –  left to right – in the order of Mark Williams (Lib Dem), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) , Carwyn Jones (Labour), Adrian Masters (ITV Wales Political Editor and moderator), Andrew R T Davies (Conservative) and Neil Hamilton (UKIP).

It wasn’t entirely clear how this political pecking-order had been arrived-at for last night’s debate  – nor the basis on which ITV had decided on the order in which they would be called upon to speak – but home advantage in most cases appeared to go to Labour.

It was a full-house audience for last night’s ITV live election debate at Stanwell School’s impressive auditorium

The lectern line-up –  with the five party-leaders on stage –   meant that gamesmanship was the order of the day.What was going to count was: –

  • who occupied the prized centre-ground on the stage which gets the most camera coverage…It was Carwyn Jones (Labour)
  • who would be called on to speak first and open the debate … It was  Carwyn Jones (Labour)
  • who would close the debate with a closing 30 second statement…. It was Carwyn Jones (Labour)

The debate was moderated by ITV Wales Political Editor Adrian Masters

Of the 250 people who had applied for tickets to attend the programme 4 had had their  questions chosen as the 4 main topics for discussion. The four questioners were “seeded” in the audience. Each  questioner was featured in a pre-shot filmed profile immediately before they posing their questions on Brexit, on Jobs, on Immigration and on why anyone should believe politicians.

Andrew R T Davies delivered a confident and well briefed performance with zero gaffes although he was  not above deploying slogans  like – “Carwyn, Corbyn & chaos”, “strong and stable government” – and even, on a couple of occasions, plagiarising Labour’s nostrum  “For the Many not the Few“.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood disputes a point with Labour leader Carwyn Jones

The debate did get rowdy at times, with Plaid leader Leanne Wood warning of the need to “defend Wales from Tory cuts”, claiming wages in Wales are “10% lower than average”   –  crossing swords with Carwyn Jones  and frequently attempting to interrupt Andrew R T Davies’s replies. The Conservative leader had to raise his voice to be heard at times – only to be then accused by moderator Adrian Masters of “shouting” .

Penarth Labour supporter John Rogan was determined to be heard in last night’s ITV debate

Conservative leader (and Brexiteer) Andrew R T Davies parried the attack – saying he stood by everything he had said in the Brexit debate

When to came to shouting however, nothing was louder than a well-known Penarth public figure (and Labour supporter) John Rogan, who knows – better than most –  how get oneself heard in a debate. [Mr Rogan organised public election debates in Penarth in 2015 and 2016] . Seated in the audience, and absolutely not part of the ITV format, Mr Rogan was last night a game-keeper-turned-poacher .

He hurled at Andrew R T Davies, last year’s “promise” by the Leave campaign that Brexit would deliver £350,000,000 more a week for the NHS. Davies said he would stand by everything he had said in the EU campaign

UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton had a good night despite his party’s probloems

It was UKIP leader Neil Hamilton who put that somewhat-stale NHS issue to bed by simply pointing out that after the Brexit negotiations the UK Government would no longer have to pay “£300,000,00 a week”  to the EU and therefore it could  decide how that money was to be spent – be it on the NHS or whatever.

Full marks for keeping a straight-face however, must surely go to Welsh Labour leader  Carwyn Jones who – without a hint of irony –  managed to say (to derisory hoots of laughter from the audience)  “Jeremy Corbyn is the person who will lead us to a good result and to victory. I will support him because he is our Leader” .

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  1. Louise C says:

    The £350m a week was always a lie. It’s around £200m a week. Even Farage admits that now.

  2. Chris David says:

    The Labour supporter John Rogan looks a bit hot n bothered. Rogan Rage eh! Anyway bunch of second ratters and how can anyone believe Labour with the mess Wales is in. Give someone else a go- anyone. Cant be worse. So – all one big set up?

  3. Philip Rapier says:

    I know it was ITV but did we have to have so many “repeats” from Andrew RT Davies.
    I counted 9 yes at least 9 “Strong and Stable Government’s.” In the end he bewildered everyone by appearing to be quoting Labour’s cliche of the Moment “Government for the Many not the Few” in desperation to make himself sound impressive.

    By the look of the sweat on his stage-frightened brow Andrew possibly meant “Phew”! “When will this be over”? “Will somebody call me a cab back to Cowbridge please”?

    Penarth School’s sixth form Debating Society type gifted students, ran rings round poor, hapless Andrew as the audience hissed, booed and giggled at every repeat sound bite of “Strong and Stable Government”

    I would postpone that Equity Card application for the moment if I were you Andrew!

    In fairness to Mr. Davies compared to the weak efforts of Neil Hamilton of UKIP it was a BAFTA Winning performance.

    • Ralph Philliper says:

      The only snag in your argument is we are voting in a new national UK parliament. Whom the choice of leader is Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn.
      The other Parties leaders have ruled themselves out of any type of coalition, but strangely insist that their manifestos still count!
      RT Davies, Carwyn Jones, Neil Hamilton, Laeanna Wood and whom ever the Liberal chap was, are all Assembly Members.
      So the next time you give us you Len Goodman marks out of ten can you tell us what you think of Jeremy Cobryn and Dianne Abbott? As I and probably every other voter in Penarth wouldn’t trust them to look after my dog’s dinner rota.

  4. RetailGuru says:

    A poor debate from third rate politicians, on the whole. CARWYN JONES – told some unbelievable fiction, LEANNE WOOD – ahh love ‘er will never have any credibility, ANDREW RT DAVIES – Spin and patronising sound bites treating every one like idiots, MARK WILLIAMS and NEIL HAMILTON were the only ones who spoke with facts, knowledge and gravitas. Williams in particular spoke with sincerity, but I can’t agree with the Lib Dem policies. God help us!

  5. hopenotnasty says:

    The constant demonising of Jeremy Corbyn by the right wing Tory press and the bias of the BBC is starting to wear thin. Last night R.T Davies played the bash Corbyn card again but with little effect. Large crowds are gathering wherever Corbin makes speeches and is proving popular. The daily high profile of him plus the popular labour manifesto has started a move in the polls. A number of polls put them above the figure polled in 2015. Which when one considers the constant demonising is remarkable. I may be bias but Teresa May is like a plank of wood. .

    • Peter Church says:

      Yes Corbyn for PM. 🙂
      Large crowds gather where ever he speaks, so do large crowds gather whenever someone is about to jump off a tall building!!
      We are all just fascinated that he has managed to get this far.
      I hope you don’t have any money invested in your Pension Pot if this fool does somehow mange to get into power.

    • simplylinking says:

      And UKIP her splinter group.

  6. Frank Evans says:

    The penarth local labour supporter looks like the typical left wing shout you down bully boy type.
    I heard John McDonald’s shadow chancellor just now on the today programme and God help this country if Labour gets into power. His politics belong in the 1930s

  7. Robert Jones says:

    As opposed to a typical right wing shout you down bully boy type ?
    Don’t believe the hype.

  8. John Rogan says:

    First of all, I’d like to thank Penarth Daily News for printing a reasonably flattering photo of me from the debate. Having looked at the video, I realise it could have been a lot worse.

    I’d also like to thank the commentators here for what they said about me – “typical left wing shout you down bully boy type” was a particular favourite and I will ask my family to ensure that this is included in my funeral oration.

    One point I would like to clarify though is the decryption of me as a “Labour supporter”. At the moment, I am not a member of any political party. Even so, this time, I do hope that Stephen Doughty is indeed re-elected as the MP for Cardiff South and Penarth.


    As he is anti-Corbyn (good) and anti-Brexit (also good), these are both very good reasons to back him. His support for air-strikes against Isis in defence of the Kurdish city of Rojava in December 2015 (against Corbyn’s view) is also worthy of note.

    As regarding Brexit though, and this is where I realise I am in a minority at the moment, I do hope that when the UK starts to realise the problems it will cause (e.g. for Welsh farmers), we do re-think the case for leaving.

  9. Chris David says:

    Quite balanced Mr Rogan although aside of some of his better judgements I don’t rate Doughty as an MP at all. Lightweight (ish- ha) grandstander with zero knowledge of business (doesn’t know what a company is despite his bullying!) You may very well be proved right re Brexit as well. However the Rogan Rage hit was just too good to miss with that obviously carefully picked picture of you. Soz as the kids say 🙂

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