IT WAS another safe win for Labour in Islwyn this General Election, with newcomer Christopher Evans scooping a clear majority.
Mr Evans, who worked as a researcher for his predecessor Don Touhig until he stepped down in January, could not hide his delight as the results were announced at 1.40am, while supporters cheered and threw their arms in the air in celebration.
With a smile from ear to ear, Mr Evans hugged his partner Emma, who he later thanked for her continuing support through what he described as a “rollercoaster couple of months.”
Speaking after his victory, he thanked his supporters and vowed to do his very best for his constituents.
He said: "I will wake up every day thinking about you, I will spend every waking hour working for you as long as I am your MP. I will give my heart and soul to you and I will live and breathe Islwyn - I look forward to working with you in the future."
The night began nosily at Newbridge Leisure Centre, as the 58 counters chatted and took their seats as the first of 60 ballot boxes arrived at 10.08pm.
Soon the candidates started to arrive and joined the observers in keeping a close eye on the action.
Counters verified 34,768 ballot papers - representing 63.37 percent of the 54,866 people registered to vote in Islwyn - before counting started around 11.30pm.
The babble of conversation lowered as the tension amongst candidates grew, but the confidence in a Labour victory was clear to see.
Speaking before the results Mr Evans, who was brought up in the Rhondda Valleys, said he felt good about the way his campaign had gone and said the overall response from voters had been positive.
He said: “I’m feeling pretty good. Our campaign went brilliantly, we worked very hard and met thousands of people, we tried to knock on every door - we wore out a lot of shoe leather.”
Mr Evans, who stood as a Labour candidate in Cheltenham in 2005, said he was glad to be back amongst valleys people.
Speaking after the result, runner-up Daniel Thomas, for the Conservatives, said he was “overjoyed” by the party’s result, after it got the lowest number of votes in Islwyn in 2005.
He said: “It is an amazing achievement for the Conservatives in Islwyn in what is a Labour stronghold. Plaid were gunning for this seat and we beat them.”
Mr Thomas, 29, of Blackwood, said the results showed that forecast polls often can’t be relied upon, and predicted a Tory win overall.