General election: Corbyn rallies hundreds in Cardiff

Media captionMr Corbyn said all the Tories offered was “fear and misery”

Jeremy Corbyn has held a rally to a crowd of hundreds in Cardiff – calling for voters to join him on a journey of “hope and excitement”.

In his first general election event in Wales, Mr Corbyn visited Cardiff North – a seat Labour wants to recapture from the Conservatives.

He heaped praise on the Welsh Government’s performance in education.

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies claimed the Welsh Labour team would be “gritting its teeth” during the visit.

Mr Corbyn was joined by First Minister Carwyn Jones at the visit, as well as Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan.

Speaking on Whitchurch Common to a crowd of around 700, Mr Corbyn said all the Tories offered was “fear and misery”.

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Jeremy Corbyn was surrounded by supporters after he wrapped up his rally in Whitchurch Common

Mr Corbyn said the UK government was slicing the money from normal state schools for free and grammar schools.

He praised the Welsh Government on education and child poverty, but criticised the UK government for cutting the Welsh budget.

“In Wales it is different because you’ve got a government that is determined to properly fund education and give every child an opportunity,” he said.

Friday’s event came after Mr Corbyn said children were being crammed “like sardines” into “super-sized” school classes in England, as Labour focused its general election campaign on education.

But the Tories called the comments “a massive own goal”, saying the Labour-led Welsh Government had overseen increases in class sizes in Wales.

Education in Wales is devolved and Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced a £36m fund to reduce infant class sizes in Wales.

‘Hope and opportunity’

In the wide ranging speech, Mr Corbyn said seven years of the Tory government and the earlier coalition had brought “greater poverty, greater insecurity, greater misery”, and that Labour was the party of hope and opportunity.

He said Labour would maintain the triple lock on pensions, while he claimed big firms would not be allowed “cosy” tax negotiations with the HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr Corbyn was surrounded by a large crowd well-wishers and supporters as he left the scene.

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones said Labour would create a “fairer society” after 8 June.

“The time has come for change,” he said.

Media captionWelsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones said it was time for a change

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Andrew RT Davies said there are “few bragging rights” for Labour

But Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: “After nearly two decades in government, Labour’s record is a smorgasbord of failure evidenced by Wales having the worst-performing education system in the UK, the lowest take-home pay, and the longest hospital waiting times.”

Jonathan Edwards, Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr Plaid Cymru MP, said: “Given the current weakness and chaos plaguing Labour, the prospect of a UK Labour government is a complete fantasy.”

Meanwhile, Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said he was “fully supporting” the leader, despite being a vocal critic when he was voted into the role.


Analysis by BBC Wales political correspondent Arwyn Jones

When it comes to class sizes it is difficult to make a direct comparison with the figure in England because records there are kept of pupils in classes of 36 or more, which is not publicly available in Wales.

There were 4,568 junior pupils – 3.4% – in Wales taught in classes of 31 or more last year, known as “unlawfully large classes”.

The number has more than doubled since 2013 when it was 1,688 – 1.3%.

There are circumstances where a class may have more than 30 pupils, which are called “exemptions”.

Last year, 12,711 pupils were taught in such classes, 9.3% of the total, up from 8,082 in 2013.

However, Welsh Government pointed out that between 2013 and 2016 there has been fall of 41% in the number of infant pupils in unlawfully large classes.