Blaenau Gwent (UK Parliament constituency)

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Not to be confused with Blaenau Gwent (Assembly constituency).

Coordinates: 51°46′37″N 3°11′42″W / 51.777°N 3.195°W / 51.777; -3.195

Blaenau Gwent
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Blaenau Gwent in Wales.
Preserved county Gwent
Electorate 53,791 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Ebbw Vale, Abertillery, Brynmawr, Tredegar
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of Parliament Nick Smith (Labour)
Number of members One
Created from Ebbw Vale
Overlaps
Welsh Assembly South Wales East
European Parliament constituency Wales

Blaenau Gwent is a county constituency in South Wales, represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The current MP is Nick Smith of the Labour Party.

History[edit]

Blaenau Gwent is often referred to as Aneurin Bevan's old constituency. However, the constituency was created in 1983, twenty-three years after Bevan's death, from the upper part of the former Abertillery constituency, the town of Brynmawr from the Brecon and Radcor constituency, and Bevan's old Ebbw Vale seat with the exception of the village of Abertysswg. The then Labour party leader Michael Foot, who had won Ebbw Vale in the by-election following Bevan's death, was the seat's first MP.

Until 2005, the constituency was considered one of the safest Labour seats in the country. In the 1983 and 1992 general elections, it was Labour's safest seat. The Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats have both been very weak in the seat. Neither has won 10% of the vote since 1987 and the Conservatives have never achieved one eighth of the total votes cast. In 2005 the Liberal Democrats received their lowest share of the vote in the United Kingdom and the Conservatives their second lowest, and both lost their deposits, though this particular election saw unusual circumstances.

The seat came to prominence at the 2005 general election when the Labour Welsh Assembly Member Peter Law ran as an independent and won the seat. He had resigned from the Labour Party in protest at the imposition of an all-women candidates' shortlist following the retirement of incumbent MP Llew Smith, and overturned a 19,313 (60%) Labour majority with a significant 9,121 (25%) majority. In 2006 the Labour Party decided not to require an all-women shortlist at the next general election.[2]

Law died of a brain tumour on 25 April 2006, prompting a by-election in the seat on 29 June. Labour failed to regain the seat as Law's former campaign manager, Dai Davies, was elected to replace him.

In the 2010 general election, Labour candidate Nick Smith gained the seat with a 29.2% swing from Independent back to Labour; it became one of only three seats Labour gained in that election. The seat was still notable as one of the few where an Independent candidate kept their deposit or pushed one of the main parties into fourth place.

Boundaries[edit]

The constituency boundaries are analogous to those of Blaenau Gwent county borough. The main towns are Ebbw Vale, Abertillery, Brynmawr and Tredegar.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[3] Party
1983 Michael Foot Labour
1992 Llew Smith Labour
2005 Peter Law Independent
2006 by-election Dai Davies Blaenau Gwent People's Voice
2010 Nick Smith Labour

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Blaenau Gwent
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Plaid Cymru Steffan Lewis [4]
General Election 2010: Blaenau Gwent[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Nick Smith 16,974 52.4 +20.1
Blaenau Gwent People's Voice Dai Davies 6,458 19.9 −38.2
Liberal Democrat Matt Smith 3,285 10.1 +5.9
Conservative Liz Stevenson 2,265 7.0 +4.7
Plaid Cymru Rhodri Davies 1,333 4.1 −2.4
BNP Anthony King 1,211 3.7 N/A
UKIP Michael Kocan 488 1.5 +1.0
Socialist Labour Alyson O'Connell 381 1.2 +1.2
Majority 10,516 32.5
Turnout 32,395 61.8 −4.4
Labour gain from Blaenau Gwent People's Voice Swing +29.2

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

Blaenau Gwent by-election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Blaenau Gwent People's Voice Dai Davies[6] 12,543 46.2 N/A
Labour Owen Smith 10,055 37.0 +4.7
Plaid Cymru Steffan Lewis 1,755 6.5 +4.1
Liberal Democrat Amy Kitcher 1,477 5.4 +1.1
Conservative Margrit Williams 1,013 3.7 +1.3
Monster Raving Loony Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 318 1.2 N/A
Majority 2,488 9.1 −16.8
Turnout 27,161 50.5 -14.4
Blaenau Gwent People's Voice hold Swing −8.4
General Election 2005: Blaenau Gwent
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Peter Law 20,505 58.2 N/A
Labour Maggie Jones 11,384 32.3 −39.7
Liberal Democrat Brian Thomas 1,511 4.3 −5.0
Plaid Cymru John Price 843 2.4 −8.8
Conservative Phillip Lee 816 2.4 −5.2
UKIP Peter Osborne 192 0.5 N/A
Majority 9,121 25.9
Turnout 35,251 66.1 +6.6
Independent gain from Labour Swing
General Election 2001: Blaenau Gwent
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Llew Smith 22,855 72.0 −7.4
Plaid Cymru Adam J. Rykala 3,542 11.2 +5.9
Liberal Democrat Edward Townsend 2,945 9.3 +0.6
Conservative Huw B. Williams 2,383 7.5 +0.9
Majority 19,313 60.8 −9.9
Turnout 31,725 59.5 −12.8
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Blaenau Gwent
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Llew Smith 31,493 79.5 +0.5
Liberal Democrat Geraldine Layton 3,458 8.7 +2.3
Conservative Margrit A. Williams 2,607 6.6 −3.2
Plaid Cymru Jim B. Criddle 2,072 5.2 +0.4
Majority 28,035 70.7 +1.5
Turnout 39,630 72.3 −5.8
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1992: Blaenau Gwent[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Llew Smith 34,333 79.0 +3.1
Conservative David Melding 4,266 9.8 −1.7
Liberal Democrat Alistair Burns 2,774 6.4 −2.5
Plaid Cymru (Green) Alun Davies 2,099 4.8 +1.1
Majority 30,067 69.2 +4.8
Turnout 43,472 78.1 +0.9
Labour hold Swing +2.4

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Blaenau Gwent
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Michael Foot 32,820 75.9 +5.9
Conservative Andrew Robert Taylor 4,959 11.5 +0.3
Liberal David Ian McBride 3,847 8.9 −6.2
Plaid Cymru Stephen Morgan 1,621 3.7 +0.0
Majority 27,861 64.4 +9.5
Turnout 43,247 77.2 +0.4
Labour hold Swing +2.8
General Election 1983: Blaenau Gwent
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Michael Foot 30,113 70.0 N/A
Liberal Gareth Martin Atkinson 6,488 15.1 N/A
Conservative Talmai Philip Morgan 4,816 11.2 N/A
Plaid Cymru Stephen Morgan 1,624 3.7 N/A
Majority 23,625 54.9 N/A
Turnout 43,041 76.8 N/A
Labour win (new seat)

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Cardiff South East
Constituency represented by the Leader of the Opposition
1980–1983
Succeeded by
Islwyn