TORFAEN is another Labour stronghold, with the party having won every single election since the constituency was founded in 1983.

Nick Thomas-Symonds was elected as the area’s Labour MP for the first time in 2015, but has been faced with defending his seat after just two years.

Despite being a new candidate, his majority in 2015 was only 0.2 per cent lower than his predecessor Paul Murphy, who had held the seat for Labour since 1987 and himself succeeded Labour’s Leo Abse, who was the first MP elected to the constituency when it was created in 1983.

Candidates for the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and Ukip are also running in Torfaen.

Lynne Neagle, also Labour, represents the area in the Senedd.

Torfaen runs from Cwmbran in the south, encompassing Pontypool, Abersychan and Blaenavon, bordering Ebbw Vale at its northernmost point.

As with every other area in Gwent apart from Monmouth, Torfaen voted to leave the European Union in last year's referendum, with 60 per cent of voters in the area backing Brexit.

Cwmbran is the largest town in the area and the sixth largest urban area in the whole of Wales, with about 48,500 residents, despite only being established in 1949 as a new town.

The town’s sports stadium was also home to international athletics events in the 1970s and 80s, with sporting giants including Colin Jackson having trained there regularly.

The area is also notable for the Cwmbran Shopping Centre, which for years was the premier shopping destination in Gwent, only recently being rivalled by Newport’s Friars Walk.

Pontypool is also one of the earliest industrial town in Wales and reportedly dates back as far as the 15th century.

Among notable landmarks within Torfaen are the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, as well as the town of Blaenavon itself, which is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site for its strong industrial history.

At one point the town had a population of more than 20,000, but today this has fallen to 6,000.

Although Torfaen has the second-lowest unemployment rate in Gwent at 3.2 per cent, this is still higher than the national average of 2.6 per cent. Likewise 25.4 per cent, more than one in four, children in the area are classed as being in poverty, while 10.1 per cent of people of working age are claiming disability benefits.

Average weekly pay is also £40 lower than the national average at £490, but house prices are more than £90,000 cheaper than the national average at £124,000.


Population: 81,730

Number of these aged 65 or older: 15,103 (18.5 per cent)

Average weekly pay: £490

(UK average £530)

Average house price: £124,000

(UK average £215,000)

Number of people on disability benefits: 5,160 (10.1 per cent)

(UK average 6.2 per cent)

Unemployment: 3.2 per cent

(UK average 2.6 per cent)

Child poverty: 25.4 per cent

(UK average 20 per cent)

Number of businesses: 1,865


Andrew James Best (Lib Dem)

Jeff Rees (Plaid Cymru)

Graham Steven Smith (Conservative)

Nick Thomas-Symonds (Labour)

Ian Michael Williams (Ukip)