With the General Election less than two weeks away, the Argus is taking a look at all the constituencies in Gwent. DAN BARNES took a look at Blaenau Gwent.

BLAENAU Gwent stretches north of Newbridge, west of Pontypool and east of New Tredegar, and encompasses the towns of Blaina, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Brynmawr, ending just north of the A465.

It was created as a constituency in 1983, and has been represented in the House of Commons since 2010 by Labour's Nick Smith.

Out of the ten general elections since 1983, Labour have won eight, with independent candidates securing the seat on the other two occasions.


The constituency was created from the upper part of the former Abertillery constituency, the town of Brynmawr from Brecon and Radnor, and Ebbw Vale.

Until 2005, it was ranked in the top 20 safest Labour seats in the country by size of majority and by continuous representation by candidates from that party. But in 2005, Peter Law – standing as an independent – won the seat with a majority of 25.9 per cent. He died on a brain tumour the following year, with Dai Davies winning the following by-election for the Blaenau Gwent People's Voice party, until Labour regained the seat in 2010, with Nick Smith securing a 32.5 per cent majority which would remain at a similar level in the next few elections.

The last time voters in Blaenau Gwent hit the polls, Mr Smith held on to his 58 per cent of the vote but saw his overall majority diminished slightly to 36.8 per cent from 40.1.

This may have been due in part to a higher voter turnout in the constituency which was up from 31,683 to 32,419.

The area also counts among its former MPs two of the most prominent Labour figures of the past century - NHS founder Aneurin Bevan and party leader Michael Foot.

South Wales Argus:

Aneurin Bevan

The area has been seen as something of a pro-Brexit heartland, with 62.03 per cent of voters in the borough voting to leave the European Union in 2016 - the highest proportion in Wales. And polls have suggested opinion has not shifted since then.

Blaenau Gwent is also one of the most impoverished regions in Wales, and the UK as a whole, with high unemployment and child poverty and low wages. But house prices are also famously low, and have at some points been the lowest in the country.

The constituency is the home of the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone, an area of the town in which businesses are given special financial support by the Welsh Government in an effort to improve the economy of the area.

In 1960, 45 miners were killed in an explosion at a colliery in Six Bells, Abertillery.

Today a 20 metre-tall monument named The Guardian overlooks the site.

South Wales Argus:

The Guardian

Tredegar also has a history of having been the site of three major riots, the first in reaction to an election result in 1868, the second caused by inflamed tensions with the town’s Irish community in 1882 and the third in which Jewish homes and businesses were attacked in 1911.

Other notable landmarks in the area include the Grade II listed Bedwellty House and the Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr, the oldest cinema in Wales.

South Wales Argus:

The Market Hall Cinema

Alun Davies, also Labour - who has served a number of tenures on the Welsh Government frontbench - represents the constituency in the Senedd.

At a glance:

  • Population: 69,817
  • Number of those aged 65 or older: 12,477
  • Median weekly pay: £479.40 (UK median £580)
  • Average house price: £72,000 (UK average £234,000)
  • Unemployment: Four per cent (UK average 4.1 per cent)
  • Number of businesses: 1,305

Your candidates:

  • Chelsea-Marie Annett (Lib Dem)
  • Laura Anne Jones (Conservative)
  • Peredur Owen Griffiths (Plaid Cymru)
  • Stephen James Priestnall (Green)
  • Nick Smith (Labour)
  • Richard Wayne Taylor (Brexit Party)