Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 12:39 UK

Blaenau Gwent voting 'protest' over

Dai Davies lost the seat to Nick Smith
Independent Dai Davies lost the seat to Labour's Nick Smith

On an election night which provided disappointment for Labour, regaining the south Wales valleys stronghold of Blaenau Gwent was one bright spot.

The seat was lost to the independent party set up by late MP and AM Peter Law in 2005 after an internal row.

After his death in 2006, Mr Law's agent Dai Davies was returned to Westminster.

But the voters in this seat, which used to be the safest Labour Westminster seat in Wales, returned to the fold on Thursday and elected new MP Nick Smith.

A disappointed Mr Davies said: "My sadness is that after 13 years of a Labour government, this constituency is still in trouble, a constituency that I've been privileged to be a member of parliament for for the last four years.

"And I really can't see where Labour is going to improve the area in the coming five years or so when they're probably not even going to be in government."

But certainly I think the threat that was put about that the Tories would be the evil if they got elected, that certainly played its part.
Former Blaenau Gwent MP Dai Davies

"I guess people tend to tell you what you want to hear to your face and when they go to the polling booth they probably make perhaps a different decision.

"But certainly I think the threat that was put about that the Tories would be the evil if they got elected, that certainly played its part."

Mr Davies, and Mr Law's widow Trish, were elected as Blaenau Gwent's MP and AM, in a by-election in 2006.

They fought the Westminster and Cardiff Bay seats on the People's Voice ticket set up after Mr Law left the party in protest over an all-woman shortlist.

The double blow was dismissed at the time as a protest vote, and the decision of the electorate, with a 29.2% swing to Labour from People's Voice, five years later would seem to support that.

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