IN Newport West, Paul Flynn saw off a big Conservative effort to retain the seat for Labour.

This will be Mr Flynn's sixth term as MP for the constituency since he won it back for his party from the Tories in 1987.

But since Labour's electoral high water mark of 1997, it has been a case of diminishing returns for Mr Flynn.

His majority this time around is 3,544, against 5,458 in 2005, 9,304 in 2001, and more than 14,000 in 1997.

Nevertheless, he was in feisty form following the announcement of the result at Newport's Velodrome, using the occasion to berate a high spending campaign by the Conservative Party.

"The voters (of Newport West) have shown that they cannot be bought by the high spending of our opponents," he said.

The Labour Party, he added, is still coming out of the problems it has faced during the last few years, "vigorous, and with strong ideas."

"We did not spend as much as our opponents but we were far smarter," he said.

"This is the start of us winning back Newport council and ridding the city of the pantomime horse that is the Liberal Democrat and Tory coalition."

His hailed his latest victory as "by far the most splendid, against the odds."

Mr Williams said the result showed that while voters had put the Conservatives in power at local authority level, they were not quite ready to follow that up for the House of Commons.

"But we hope we can keeping moving forward here to make the city a better place," he said.

In third place, the Liberal Democrat vote was up just a fraction on 2005, but the British National Party pipped the UK Independence Party and Plaid Cymru respectively, in a tight but distant battle for fourth place.