Islwyn

Islwyn is another of the very traditional valley seats that most people think of when they visualise the Welsh Valleys. Small towns and villages, composed of long strings of terraced housing stretching out along the valley floors. The seat is based mainly around the towns and villages of Oakdale, Risca, Newbridge, Blackwood, Cwmfelinfach and Ynysddu.  It is one of the smaller valley seats by electorate, having about 55,000 electors within it. The seat forms the eastern section of Caerphilly County Borough, and is bordered to the west by the Caerphilly seat, to the east by Torfaen, to the north by Blaenau Gwent and Rhymney, whilst to the south the constituency merges into the suburbs of Newport.

Islwyn is another seat that Labour can count on as being safe, although in a major upset in 1999 during the first elections to the Welsh Assembly, the seat was snatched from Labour by Plaid Cymru with a slim majority of 604 votes. The seat reverted to type in the 2003 Assembly elections when Labour won the seat back. Since 2003 Labour have held the seat comfortably, with the current AM, Gwyn Price having been elected at the 2011 election.

At a Westminster level the seat was created in 1983 to replace the old Bedwellty seat. It was then held from 1983 to 1995 by Neil Kinnock, leader of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992. Kinnock stepped down in 1995 to become a European Commissioner. The seat was won at the ensuing by-election by Don Touhig. The current MP, Chris Evans was elected to replace Touhig in the 2010 General Election.

Like many South Wales constituencies that were heavily reliant on coal mining, the seat suffered from the total closure of the mining industry, and has had to reinvent itself economically to survive. This has happened quite successfully in Islwyn. The seat currently has a wide range of companies that make a variety of products from microchips to carpets to ready meals. The area is also taking on the mantle of an outdoor activities centre. The Cwmcarn Forest drive is a magnet for tourists on four wheels and two, whilst walkers can enjoy stunning walks and views wandering the ridges of Twmbarlwm and Mynydd Machen. The constituency also contains two of the five country parks within Caerphilly borough; the Sirhowy Country Park and the Pen-Y-Fan pond park. The latter being based around one of the last canal feeder ponds in Wales.

2015 General election results

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Evans Christopher Labour(Coop) 17,069 49.2
Smyth, Joe UKIP 6,932 19.58
Jones, Laura Conservative 5,366 15.16
Ackerman, Lyn Plaid Cymru 3,794 10.72
d’Cruz, Brendon Liberal Democrat 950 2.68
Varley, Peter Green 659 1.86
Von Magpie, Baron Loony 213 0.6
Rawcliffe, Josh TUSC 151 0.43

Labour Co-op majority 10,404 (29.39%) 8.56% swing Labour to UKIP

Electorate 55,075  Turnout: 35,401 (64.28%)

2011 Assembly election result

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Price, Gwyn Labour 12,116 57.95%
Lewis, Stefan Plaid Cymru   4,527 27.24%
Chipp, David Conservative   2,497 11.94%
Whalley, Peter BNP   1,115   5.33%
Sullivan, Tom Liberal Democrat      653   3.12%

Turnout: 20,908 (38.09%)

Labour hold 7,589 majority

 2010 General election results

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Evans Christopher Labour(Coop) 17,069 49.2
Thomas, Daniel Conservative 4,854 14
Lewis, Steffan Plaid Cymru 4,518 13
Ali, Ashgar Liberal Democrat 3,597 10.4
Rees, David Independent 1,495 4.3
Voisey, John BNP 1,320 3.8
Crew, Jason UKIP 936 2.7
Taylor, Paul Independent 901 2.6

Electorate 54,826 Turnout: 34,690 (63.27%)

 Assembly Member

Gwyn Price (Labour) was elected in 2011. He sits on the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee. He was previously deputy leader Caerffili County Borough and held the cabinet portfolio for Human Resources. He has announced he’s standing down at the next Assembly elections.

Professionally he was a contracts manager for a local authority

Born in Tirphil an active trade unionist having being a branch chair of UCATT and branch treasurer of NUPE.

He is married.

 Member of Parliament

Chris Evans  (Labour) was elected  in 2010 having failed to be elected as Labour candidate for Cheltenham in 2005. He is a member of the Justice Select Committee.

Originally from Llwynypia in the Rhondda. He graduated in history in Trinity College, Carmarthen.

Before entering parliament he worked as a parliamentary researcher for the previous MP Don Touhig.

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