PETER Fox is the new Senedd Member for Monmouth in an election which saw a record turnout in the region.

The Conservative candidate continued his party's hold on the seat which they have maintained since the first Senedd election back in 1999.

However, their majority has been cut since the election in 2016.

Turnout was confirmed as a record 52.8 per cent, up on 48.9 per cent in 2016.

Despite queues and cold weather, the people of the Monmouth constituency were out in their droves to vote.

Mr Fox received 15,332 votes to become the new MS for the region - but the Conservatives' majority has been cut by more than 1,000 votes.

In the previous Senedd election the majority was 5,174, but this time around it has fallen to 3,845.

He said being elected to the office was "a fantastic privilege".

"We were blessed with a fantastic turnout," he said.

"I want to thank a special lady, my wife Joanne, she’s had to put up with me for six horrible weeks, plus 35 years.

"Big thanks to the local Monmouthshire Conservative Association. I want to put on record my thanks to the team.

"Their tireless work over the last few weeks, ultimately, was crucial in this Conservative victory."

He said that his overarching focus, as Monmouth's new Member of the Senedd, would be "delivering for the whole of Monmouth and ensuring that your voice is heard".

"Regardless of differing political leanings, I will be a Member of the Senedd for everyone in this constituency," he said.

“The most salient issue now is to ensure Monmouth bounces back post-pandemic, and I will leave no stone unturned in seeing this through.”

Mr Fox also thanked Monmouth MP David TC Davies who had been "a pillar of strength and support" to him during the campaign.

He offered his thanks to all voters, no matter who they voted for.

"Thanks to everyone who turned out and voted," he said.

"It doesn’t matter who they voted for. It was just important that we all turned out.

"I look forward to representing them in the very best way I can and making sure that Monmouthshire’s voice is heard loud and clear.

"This is a new journey for me, after 13 years as leader of Monmouthshire County Council.

"I look forward to the next five years.

"Hopefully we’ll engage with many residents over that time."

The other results in the Monmouth constituency were as follows:

l Labour - Catrin Maby - 11,487

l Plaid Cymru - Hugh Kocan - 2,085

l Green Party - Ian Chandler - 2,000

l Lib Dems - Jo Watkins - 1,892

l Independent - Nick Ramsay - 1,293

l Abolish - Mark Reckless - 1,174

l Reform UK - Susan Boucher - 349

l Freedom Alliance - Elspeth Hill - 181

l Gwlad - Laurence Williams - 90

Although this means the Conservatives retained the seat, it does change hands, with former MS Nick Ramsay deselected by the party.

Mr Ramsay ran as an Independent, and came fifth, with 1,293 votes.

The outgoing MS, who held the seat for 14 years - as a Conservative and then as an Independent, said that he felt a "mixture of sadness and pride"after Friday's result.

"It’s been an enormous privilege to represent to represent the Monmouth Constituency for the last 14 years," he said.

"Obviously I feel a mixture of sadness and pride. Sadness that I didn’t get the chance to continue the job of fighting for Monmouthshire’s interests in the Welsh Parliament but proud of the kind and generous people I have represented."

"During my time as the Assembly/Senedd Member I’ve dealt with thousands of constituency cases and hopefully assisted many people in their day to day lives."

He recalled one occasion where he was approached by a constituent who thanked him for securing an innovative cancer treatment, "without which he told me there was no way he would be with us today".

Mr Ramsay said: "Those moments must rank as the most moving to any elected politician and I was certainly blown away by it.

"At the end of the day that’s what the job is all about."

He said that it had been "an honour" to become the first elected chair of the Public Accounts Committee, holding the Welsh Government to account across many policy areas.

"Many Welsh Government officials told me that they found appearing before the committee immensely challenging but recognised the importance of scrutiny in securing value for money for the taxpayer," he said.

"I’ve enjoyed working with all parties on the committee and believe that sensible, constructive opposition is the only way ahead for Welsh politics.

"That’s what the vast majority of the public want - the Senedd is becoming a great vehicle for a new type of politics and I believe it will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

"That can only be a good thing for the people of Monmouthshire and the people of Wales"

Mr Ramsay issued his thanks to the people of the constituency of Monmouth for having elected him at three consecutive Senedd elections.

"I’d particularly like to thank those who supported me under the unusual local circumstances which led to me standing as an Independent candidate in the recent election," he said.

"I know many people felt torn and it’s a shame it had to come to that. You supported my family and I nonetheless and I will always be grateful to you for that."

Mr Ramsay wished his successor, Peter Fox MS, "the best of luck and hope he enjoys the role as much as I have".

"I now look forward to new challenges and continuing to stand up for the people of this beautiful corner of Wales in any way I can," he said.

"The future’s untouched yet – let’s grab it with both hands."

All the other Gwent areas - Newport West, Newport East, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Islwyn - were held by Labour.

Labour won half of the Senedd’s seats - solidifying their hold on the Senedd.

Ukip lost all of the seven top-up seats won in 2016, which resulted in gains for Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said he wants to work with other parties in the Senedd to form a new Welsh Government, with Labour’s election win leaving it just one seat short of an outright majority.

Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency: “We’ve demonstrated in the past that you can govern successfully with 30 seats, but my approach will be to work with other parties where there are policy ideas that we have in common.

“No party has a monopoly of good ideas. I’m much more interested in working with others where we think that will be to the betterment of Wales than I am in the sort of political fixing of things.

“I’m looking forward to working with anybody who thinks that by doing things together we can do things better.”