I want to use this month’s Argus column to reflect on last Thursday’s local election results across Newport and Monmouthshire (both of which cover parts of the Newport East constituency).

Starting with Newport - taking 35 of the 51 seats, picking up an extra seat in St Julians and having success on the other side of the River Usk in places like the Graig, Allt-yr-yn and Tredegar Park and Marshfield was great to see.

Going into any election as the incumbent party is never as straightforward as it may seem. But the Newport Labour campaign was an incredibly positive one to be involved in, with a clear vision for the city as we begin to emerge from the worst of the pandemic.

Every candidate who put themselves forward, our party members, our local trade unionists, who pounded the streets, to knock on doors, deliver leaflets, should be really proud of the results.

I also want to pay tribute to the leader of the Labour group Jane Mudd for spearheading the campaign, but who has also led the city council so ably throughout Covid-19.

Where we had setbacks, such as Lliswerry, we will learn lessons and come back stronger and better next time around.

I want to move onto Monmouthshire and our brilliant results across Severnside in Caldicot, Rogiet and Undy.

Prior to Thursday, the only over all blue council in Wales was Monmouthshire - but for the first time since the mid-90s, Labour is now the largest party there and coming just two short of being in overall control.

No doubt UK wide factors such as the unpopularity of the UK Tory government and the cost of living crisis played a part.

But like in Newport, Monmouthshire Labour ran a very good campaign and our candidates were of a very high calibre, who are rooted in their communities and well known by the people they were seeking to represent.

Local councils are the deliverers of key services that matter so much to our communities - education, social services, community development and the environment.

Now as the dust begins to settle, with a Labour government in Cardiff Bay, our party retaining Newport and now as the biggest party in Monmouthshire, there’s plenty to be excited about as we begin the next chapter of fulfilling Welsh Labour’s vision of building a stronger, fairer and greener Wales.