"This Gwent Valleys seat comprises the towns of Cwmbran and Pontypool and the surrounding communities. Formerly known by the name of Pontypool, it is a very safe Labour constituency, which has been held since 1987 by Paul Murphy, who has recently distinguished himself in his brief as a Northern Ireland minister who helped broker the Good Friday Agreement. In the 1997 General Election, he had a majority of 24,536 over the Conservatives, who polled 5,327. The Liberal Democrats came third with 5,249, and Plaid Cymru came fifth with 1,042, behind the Referendum party. The seat, which comprises many former mining communities as well as the new town of Cwmbran, coincides with the boundaries of the Torfaen local authority area, whose electors voted No in the 1997 devolution referendum, albeit by a very narrow majority, only 98 votes. Torfaen local authority is in almost total Labour control - the party holds 41 of the 44 seats, with the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents holding one each."