2015 Result:
Conservative: 8769 (23.1%)
Labour: 16938 (44.6%)
Lib Dem: 1271 (3.4%)
Plaid Cymru: 2169 (5.7%)
Green: 746 (2%)
UKIP: 7203 (19%)
Others: 841 (2.2%)
MAJORITY: 8169 (21.5%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Wales, Gwent. Most of the Torfaen council area.

Main population centres: Cwmbran, Pontypool, Blaenavon.

Profile: Covers the Afon Llwyd valley and the large 1950s newtown of Cwmbran. Like much of the Welsh vallies this is a former coal mining and ironworking area, industries which have now departed. The Big Pit mining museum in Blaenavon remains as a reminder of the areas industrial heritage, the largest manufacturing employers these days are Burton biscuits and Contour Aerospace in Cwmbran.

Politics: A safe Labour seat. Along with its direct predecessor, Pontypool, the seat has been held by Labour since its creation in 1918, most notably by Leo Abse, the pioneer of divorce and gay rights legislation in the 1960s, and Paul Murphy, former Secretary of State for Wales.

Current MP
NICK THOMAS-SYMONDS (Labour) Educated at St Albans RC Comprehensive and Oxford University. Barrister. First elected as MP for Torfaen in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7541 (20%)
Lab: 16847 (45%)
LDem: 6264 (17%)
PC: 2005 (5%)
Oth: 4983 (13%)
MAJ: 9306 (25%)
Con: 5681 (16%)
Lab: 20472 (57%)
LDem: 5678 (16%)
PC: 2242 (6%)
Oth: 1906 (5%)
MAJ: 14791 (41%)
Con: 5603 (16%)
Lab: 21883 (62%)
LDem: 3936 (11%)
PC: 2720 (8%)
Oth: 1100 (3%)
MAJ: 16280 (46%)
Con: 5327 (12%)
Lab: 29863 (69%)
LDem: 5249 (12%)
PC: 1042 (2%)
Oth: 1764 (4%)
MAJ: 24536 (57%)

2015 Candidates
GRAHAM SMITH (Conservative)
NICK THOMAS-SYMONDS (Labour) Educated at St Albans RC Comprehensive and Oxford University. Barrister.
ALISON WILLOTT (Liberal Democrat)
JOHN IDRIS COX (Socialist Labour)
Comments - 80 Responses on “Torfaen”
  1. Do not be surprised if UKIP challenges Paul Murphy’s seat. Although he will win it, UKIP are gaining members heavily and that can translate into votes.

  2. a challenger to labour good

  3. Of course they will challenge. And of course Labour will win.

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murphy stand down at the next election – he will be 67 then.

    Kieron, I guess you mean UKIP will stand in this seat (I was under the impression they were going to stand everywhere apart from a few seats where they come to some arrangement with the sitting MP) – are you saying the gaining of members is specific to Torfaen, or are you talking generally?

  5. Torfaen now have a branch of UKIP. It has 40 members with new members each week.

  6. Great meeting this week – 5 more members.

    Did quite well in the Wainfelin by-election, we got more than half of labours total and about half of the independent who won.

    Yns Mon showed what can do when we target seats. Nearly beating labour into third was signifigant.

  7. Intresting that the swing from 1992 to 2010 is 10% from Lab to Conservative. Pretty dramatic weakening for labour here. Wonder why?

  8. 20% of the vote in the Wainfelin by-election, Plaid had 10 votes!!!

  9. probably not much of a welsh speaking area that’s why

  10. UKIP are very unlikely to win here, but they should take second place as Plaid is weak. I get the impression that since 2011 the Conservatives have been collapsing in Wales, much like the North and Scotland.

  11. What an absurd prediction. UKIP got a princely 2% here in 2010.

    Anthony we need a “report troll” button.

  12. yeah that is a bit of a crazy prediction

  13. I am not a troll. Your intolerance for views other than your own is infuriating. I would put £100 on UKIP taking second here in 2015.

    As a Tory party member and former officer I can tell you that the organisation here is non-existent. We would be lucky to make 10%. UKIP on the contrary should get slightly more as they are the larger of the two parties in the area. As for the Lib Dems, they would do well to retain their deposit.

    Who else will come second?

  14. Another prediction of the tories losing >10%. Will not happen.

  15. “I would put £100 on UKIP taking second here in 2015.”

    You’re on.

    Email me your details at [email protected]

    Will be interesting to see if you’re a real person

  16. Whoever’s second here it won’t be UKIP. Either Plaid or the Tories will be a very, very distant second to Labour.

  17. Hence my acceptance of a bet that I am 100% certain to win.

    I’m looking forward to winning my £50 from Bob on Hornsey & Wood Green as well.

  18. These UKIP posts remind me of Lib dem ones in 2010 where anecdotal evidence suggest some unseen avalanche about to hit divorced both from reality & empiricism.

  19. You would have to think that the tories would be on at least 15 here. Does not seem to be the sort of seat where UKIP would manage that level of vote.

    They will be scrapping it out for 3rd/4th/5th with the lib dems and Plaid.

  20. Steve, if you don’t fancy betting cash (fair enough) – then a bet of honour.

    I will admit that I am a total prat if UKIP get 2nd

    And you would do likewise if they don’t

  21. Remarkably good performance by UKIP at a Torfaen District Council by-election at Croesyceiliog South here.

  22. Forecast for 2015

    Lab 50
    UKIP 15
    Con 11
    PC 9
    LD 6
    Others 9

  23. yes they were a good second with 122 votes to Labour’s 227. Plaid however had a disaster, bottom of the poll in a 6-cornered contest with only 13 votes.

  24. Croesyceiliog North By-Election

    We worked hard for our votes – only right we should – and feel that the weather took us away from more votes?

    There was a good reception from people all over the ward – we saw several labour leaflets in bins. Some who voted for us had not vote for some time.

    There was a swing from labour to UKIP of 19.1%

  25. People putting political leaflets in bins, hold the front page.

  26. LAB HOLD MAJ : 31%
    LAB 48
    CON 17
    LD 11
    PC 10
    UKIP 7
    GRN 3
    OTH 4

  27. Even I put Labour leaflets in the recycling bin – when I’ve read them. It doesn’t mean I’m voting against Labour!

  28. In ‘pristine’ condition? But…..I take your point.

    Our post election trawl told us that a lot of people were concerned that we had no real ‘track record’ in Torfaen. All this will come out in our ‘post mortem’ meeting in January.

    We had some very good feedback.

  29. I still stand by prediction that I refused to put money on due to my anti-gambling personal principles.

    UKIP will come a very distant 2nd here in 2015.

  30. We also picked up 8 new members in Croesyceiliog North.

  31. I’m also confident that UKIP will be 3rd with less than 10 per cent of the vote.

  32. UKIP got their standard result for a local by-election in a Labour heartland. They hoovered up the largest share of the anti-Labour vote but still didn’t get close to winning. It signifies very little.

  33. good luck steve but remember slow and steady build also there,s no shame in coming 3rd esp if you keep your money.

  34. There is a slow but very steady long term Labour decline in this seat. Even in 1992, Labour polled nearly 20% more than they did in 2010 and the Conservative vote looks to be recovering slowly. The eastern fringes of the seat abut onto the normally Conservative Monmouth seat and one wonder whether, with the decline of industry in Torfaen itself, whether Labour will ever poll above 50% again. I would still bank on them winning here for many elections to come however.

  35. I wonder how the demographic profile of this seat would vote if it were American rather than Welsh.

  36. Dr John,

    You are right about the eastern fringes of Torfaen being more conservative, it shows with New Inn having all 3 councillors from the conservatives.

    However I do believe that they themselves are a little bit under threat of losing their seats because of Cameron’s unpopular policies so this could be somewhere for UKIP to exploit.

    Another question to ask is have labour still got that stronghold in Torfaen like they did 2 years ago when they won 30 out of 44 seats because I believe that they are starting to lose it slowly if the Euro vote in Torfaen was anything to go by.

  37. I believe the Conservative gains in New Inn were purely related to a local issue and do not necessarily transfer into Tory votes nationally

  38. what party is steve affiliated with?

  39. UKIP

  40. My question to Steve Joy is whether UKIP have now chosen their candidate for Torfaen or whether there will be primaries?

  41. As a Torfaen Resident I wouldn’t be so sure about Labour winning 50% of the vote. Torfaen is undergoing some significant demographic changes, There are a lot of new 4 bed detached house developments, which have sprung up in a number of areas in the constituency and a lot of people commuting in well paid jobs in Bristol etc. Districts not totally dominated by Labour include New Inn, Sebastapol, Griffithstown, Henllys, Croesyceilog, Ty Canol, Coed Eva.

  42. Paul Murphy standing down.

  43. When I saw the BBC headline saying “MP Murphy to stand down”, Paul Murphy was obviously not the first Murphy I thought of.

  44. The skies over Torfaen are black with SpAds parachuting down into the zone…

  45. Perhaps wait until his seat’s not still warm before you assume!

  46. This seat is definitely trending away from Labour albeit at a glacial pace. The fact that it’s the closest Welsh Valleys seat to England and is also adjacent to Tory banker Monmouth are probably two of the main reasons.

  47. This seat is definitely trending away from Labour albeit at a glacial pace. The fact that it’s the closest Welsh Valleys seat to England and is also adjacent to Tory banker Monmouth are probably two of the main reasons.

  48. Paul will be remembered has a gentleman who would not transcend to ‘dirty’ politics. Also has an ultra loyal labour MP who never ‘rocked the boat’!!

    Locally, he will be judged on a more of a ‘what did he do for me’ basis. Personally I always found Paul to be a genial type who really did care, but…was hamstrung by his party.

    There is now the question of who will succeed him? Whoever it is will be faced with a tough time, as the personal vote that Paul carried will in the main be lost.

  49. If you’re suggesting that Labour will have any difficulty in holding this seat in the absence of Paul Murphy, I’d disagree with you very strongly. This seat has never been marginal within living memory and it isn’t about to become marginal now. He has clearly been a well-respected local MP but his departure will have a fairly small effect on voting patterns in the seat.

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