WITH incumbent assembly member Trish Law stepping down as Blaenau Gwent's representative, this election could be a chance for Labour to retake the seat it lost in dramatic fashion in six years ago.

The party lost its previously safe assembly and parliamentary seat in 2005 when former Labour politician Peter Law recorded a shock independent victory as MP, following an internal row about the party's decision to impose an all female short-list.

He then retained both seats until his death following a brain tumour a year later.

His wife Trish won the seat in the resulting 2006 by-election with a majority of 4,464, while Mr Law's former campaign manager Dai Davies became an independent Blaenau Gwent MP.

Mrs Law increased her majority to 5,357 in the 2007 Assembly vote, but after a heavy defeat for Mr Davies at the hands of Labour's Nick Smith in the general election last year, Mrs Law announced in September that she would not be seeking a return to Cardiff Bay this year.

Mrs Law told the Argus she had "no doubt" she would win if she stood for re-election, but she felt she could not make the commitment to serve until May 2015.

Her decision makes the seat a key Labour target, with candidate Alun Davies hoping to repeat Nick Smith's success.

The constituency includes the towns of Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar. Although its strong links with mining are now in the past, it still has a high proportion of its workforce employed in manual work and manufacturing.

The last election saw a 44.5 per cent turnout at 23,518.