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Tories have best election result in Wales in over 30 years

Upset as Conservatives narrowly win Gower constituency held by Labour for over 100 years

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, (right), and the party’s candidate for Rhondda, Shelley Rees-Owen, after casting their votes on Thursday. The party failed to make a breakthrough, staying on three seats. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Conservative Party has had its best election result in Wales in more than 30 years - while Welsh nationalists failed to make a breakthrough.

The Tories picked up three more seats than in 2010, bringing its total to 11 out of 40 in Wales, and caused a major upset by narrowly winning the Gower constituency - which Labour had held for more than 100 years.

David Cameron’s party also held onto the marginal seat of Cardiff North, where the incoming MP Craig Williams described the Welsh results – the Conservatives’ best since 1983 – as “a game changer”.

Labour remains the biggest party in Wales, with 25 seats, but the loss of Gower, a Swansea constituency it has held since 2010, was a big setback.

The election was no better for the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, which failed to make any advance.

It had hoped to gain a bounce from the success of the Scottish National Party and the higher profile its leader Leanne Wood had gained through nationally televised debates, but had to content itself with retaining its three seats.

Assembly elections

Ms Wood remained upbeat, telling the BBC the party’s increased share of the vote in places such as Rhondda, Pontypridd and Cardiff would stand it in good stead for the assembly elections.

She pointed out that Plaid fell just 229 votes short of taking Anglesea from Labour.

“We were predicted to lose two out of the three seats at the beginning of this election campaign, and Labour were targeting two of our three seats and they threw a lot of resources at them and we managed to hold those attacks off,” she said.

One of the strongest performances of the night in Wales was that of Ukip. The party failed to win a seat but saw an 11 per cent rise in its share of the vote in Wales, giving it a solid platform for next year’s assembly elections.

In Caerphilly, Ukip’s Sam Gould finished in second place thanks to a swing of 17 per cent. Labour’s Wayne David held the seat, while the Conservatives came in third.

“The fact we came second is absolutely amazing and I am so pleased,” Mr Gould said. “We were so outnumbered in terms of activists and volunteers - if we had had more we would have done so much better.”

Ukip came second in Blaenau Gwent and Islwyn, both of which Labour won, and came third in other seats including Rhondda, Pontypridd and the Cynon Valley.