Newport East consists of all of urban Newport to the east of the River Usk, along with some areas of the Monmouthshire council area. The western boundary of the seat is the river Usk, the southern boundary is the Severn estuary, whilst the northern limit is the city boundary, whilst in the east the seat stretches far enough to include the southern Monmouthshire settlements of Caldicot and Undy. The seat is traditionally working class, and very anglicised. Plaid Cymru traditionally get some of their worse results in this seat, whilst the Conservative vote is restricted to the more affluent areas and the rural eastern fringe of the seat.
Since its creation the seat at both Westminster and Welsh Assembly level has been a safe seat for Labour, although at the 2010 General Election the Liberal Democrats did make a very strong, but ultimately failed challenge for the seat. The current AM is John Griffiths who has held the seat for Labour since the Assembly’s creation in 1999. At a Westminster level the seat was represented from 1983 to 1997 by veteran Labour MP, Roy Hughes, who was replaced in Labour’s landslide win in 1997 by Alan Howarth, who was the first Conservative MP to defect directly to Labour in 1995. He was in turn replaced by the current MP, Labour’s Jessica Morden in 2005. The seat’s Labour heartlands are the big estates of Ringland, Alway and Lliswerry which were built to house the workforce at nearby Llanwern steel works.
Within the constituency is the Llanwern steelworks, which opened in 1962, but is now a shadow of its former self. When it was opened it was the first oxygen blown integrated steelworks in the UK. Steel making was stopped at the site in 2001, and 1,300 jobs were lost. The site still has a rolling mill however and still rolls steel for supply to the construction and automotive industries. Parts of the site are being regenerated. Elsewhere in the seat the eastern Usk riverside has undergone substantial development, and the famous Newport Transporter Bridge links the seat with Newport West across the river Usk. Lliswerry in the seat is also home to the Newport International Sports Centre.
2011 Assembly election result
|Ellard, Janet||Liberal Democrat||3,703||19.03%|
|Cross, Fiona||Plaid Cymru||1,369||7.03%|
Turnout: 19,460 (35.30%)
|Labour hold||5,388 majority|
2010 General election results
|Townsend, Ed||Liberal Democrat||11,094||32.2|
|Cross, Fiona||Plaid Cymru||724||2.1|
|Screen, Liz||Socialist Labour||123||0.4|
Electorate 54,437 Turnout: 34,448 (63.28%)
John Griffiths (Labour) is currently the Minister for Culture and Sport. He was previously Minister for the Environment and Sustainability in the Welsh Government. His other government jobs include Counsel General, Deputy Minister for Education, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services. Before enering the Assembly in 1999 he served as a Gwent County and Newport Borough councillor. He is a member of UNITE and Community trades unions, and the Co-operative Party.
Born in Newport, John Griffiths is a law graduate and has a diploma in psychology from the University of Wales, Cardiff. He worked as a lecturer in further and higher education before becoming a solicitor.
Member of Parliament
Jessica Morden (Labour) was elected to Parliament in 2005. She currently is a member of the Welsh Affairs committee, she has also served on the Justice Committee, Modernisation of the House of Commons and also the Constitutional Affairs committee. She was elected as the first female MP in South East Wales.
Brought up in nearby Cwmbran she was educated at Croesyceilliog School before reading History at Birmingham University. Following University she was also a student at Coleg Gwent Nash Campus. Before becoming a Member of Parliament Jessica worked for two local MP’s (Llew Smith in Blaenau Gwent and Huw Edwards in Monmouth) and following that for the Wales Labour Party where she was General Secretary.
Jessica is married and has two children.