LABOUR retained Newport West in Thursday’s Assembly election – with newcomer Jayne Bryant replacing party stalwart Dame Rosemary Butler in the seat.

Dame Rosemary had served the constituency since the Assembly was founded in 1999, but stepped aside this year. And Ms Bryant retained the seat for Labour with 12,157 votes, despite strong opposition from Conservative former Newport Mayor Matthew Evans, who came in second with 8,042.

Ukip’s Mike Ford also put in a strong showing, coming in third with 3,842 votes, followed by Plaid Cymru candidate Simon Coopey with 1,645. Liberal Democrat Liz Newton with 880 and Pippa Bartolotti of the Wales Green Party with 814. Independent candidate Bill Fearnley-Whittingstall won 333 while Gruff Meredith of Cymru Sovereign brought up the rear with 38 votes.

Although Labour’s majority was cut slightly compared with the 2011 election, it was only 105 votes lower, despite Ms Bryant being an untested candidate.

Speaking after the result was announced Ms Bryant said: “I’m humbled to have earned the trust of the people of Newport West and I promise I will work as hard as I can.”

Speaking to the Argus she said: “I can’t believe it.

“We’ve put so much hard work into it and I’m so proud of my team.”

She also paid tribute to her predecessor Dame Rosemary, saying: “What shoes to fill. She’s been absolutely fantastic.”

And the Labour stalwart congratulated her successor, saying: “She’s been a fantastic candidate and I know she’ll be an excellent AM.

“She’s hard working and she’ll do well.

“She’s a real Newport girl.”

Ms Bryant’s parliamentary counterpart Paul Flynn also congratulated his colleague.

“She will be a marvellous representative for Newport West, he said.

“She’s a fresh voice.”

Mr Evans, who represents Allt-yr-yn on Newport City Council, said: “It was a massive majority to try and overcome.

“I will continue to promote this city as I always have done.”

Speaking later he said he was pleased with how hard he and his team had fought.

“I think we can hold our heads up high,” he said.

“But understandably I am disappointed.

“We can only do what we can and live to fight another day.”

After the result was announced Ms Bartolotti urged Ms Bryant to take action over pollution in the area, saying: “I have to entrust this job to you.”

Labour’s John Griffiths was also re-elected to the Newport East seat he has held since 1999, meaning both constituencies in the city will continue to be represented by Labour in the Senedd.