A CONFIDENT Labour party held onto the Islwyn seat with ease as new candidate Gwyn Price won with a majority of more than 7,500.

Mr Price, who had seemed confident throughout the night, smiled to his supporters as the result was read out declaring him the winner with 12,116 votes.

Plaid Cymru candidate Steffan Lewis took second place with 4,527 votes, while Conservative David Chipp came third with 2,497 votes.

This was from a turnout of 21,091.

Coming in last was Liberal Democrat candidate Tom Sullivan who only managed 653 votes putting him behind the British National Party candidate Peter Whalley who had 1,115 votes.

This meant Mr Sullivan fell short of the five per cent of votes needed to get his £500 deposit back.

Mr Price now takes over from outgoing Labour AM Irene James who stood down after holding onto the seat since 2003.

Mr Price thanked his party members, agent and family for their support as well as the people of Islwyn and said he would spend every working hour looking after their best interests.

Speaking afterwards, the former deputy leader of Caerphilly council said: "I am honoured and privileged to represent the people of Islwyn with such a convincing majority."

He said he would aim to bring more quality jobs into the area and to protect free services including prescriptions, bus travel and school meals.

Islwyn Labour MP Chris Evans added: "It has been an excellent night for us across Wales. People are coming home to Labour."

Mr Lewis, who was the only other candidate present at the declaration of the result, said: "It has been a difficult night but we can leave here with our heads held high."

He thanked everyone involved in his "whirlwind" campaign and the people of Islwyn for their encouragement.

He passed on his wishes to Mr Price saying he had gained a "great honour" and paid tribute to the outgoing Mrs James.