ONE of the Islwyn men who did not make the shortlist to fight for the seat is sticking with the Labour Party and backing a London-based candidate.

Andy Whitcombe, 52, was one of two men from the area who did not make the seven-person shortlist to contest the seat which will be vacated by Don Touhig.

This prompted Labour councillors, Dave Rees and Phyllis Griffiths, who represent Risca West, Pengam's Jonathan Wilson, who also put himself forward as a candidate, and Ynysddu member Jan Jones, to quit the party.

Cllr Rees will fight the seat as an Independent in the forthcoming general election.

Mr Whitcombe, who lives in Abercarn with his wife Alison, has been a Labour Party member since he was 17 and was previously shortlisted to contest seats in Beverley, near Hull, and Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, in 1987.

He took a break from front-line politics following the birth of his daughter, Sinead, now 21.

In 2008 he finished fourth in the Caerphilly council elections in the Newbridge ward.

Mr Whitcombe said he was disappointed not to make the shortlist, adding : "The people they've put forward are more than capable of doing the job successfully."

He is now backing Dan Jarvis who served as an officer in the Parachute regiment in Afghanistan.

Mr Whitcombe said: "Anyone prepared to put their life on the line for Great Britain deserves this opportunity. I think his character speaks volumes."

Despite the snub, Mr Whitcombe is staying with the party as believes what Labour stands for and said he was disappointed "four good friends" had left.