The 2017 General Election takes place on Thursday, June 8 and Caerphilly Observer has asked each of the candidates in the county borough to submit 100 words. Here we profile the Islwyn constituency.
Penmaen, Blackwood, Cefn Fforest, Pengam, Newbridge, Pontllanfraith, Maesycwmmer, Abercarn, Ynysddu, Crosskeys, Risca East and Risca West wards to the south and east of the county borough.
The parliamentary seat has historically been held by Labour, with the party’s leader winning in 1983, 1987 and 1992. It has been held by Chris Evans since 2010. In 2015, Labour won 49% of the vote, with UKIP coming second with 19.6%, and the Conservatives in third. From an electorate of 55,697, 35,448 votes were cast, a 63.64% turnout.
There are five candidates standing in Islwyn:
CHRIS EVANS, LABOUR: I have been your MP for the past seven years.
Islwyn is a great place to live and work and I want it to stay that way. I grew up in the valleys in the 1980s and remember how the Tories abandoned us.
It has taken our community years to recover from their legacy of decay and neglect. It must never happen again. I want to ensure we attract new business, provide opportunities for the young and ensure our elderly have dignity in retirement.
These are my priorities for Islwyn. That is why I ask for your vote on June 8.
JOE SMYTH, UKIP: Joe Smyth lives in Newbridge with his family, and is an ex-Royal Engineer paratrooper who served alongside 3 PARA in the Falklands war.
UKIP pushed the agenda for a referendum and you the people voted for it, and won. But it doesn’t end there, we will need UKIP MPs to ensure that we get the best deal from Brexit for you the people of Wales.
I and UKIP will always look after the NHS, Jobs, Economy, Education, People young and old.
If you really want change, then UKIP will give you that change, UKIP is committed to serving the hard-working families of Wales.
DARREN JONES: PLAID CYMRU: I live in Islwyn, raised my family here and I’m not a career politician.
I work for a university helping young people access quality work experience with businesses across Wales.
I will fight for our public services, as Tories target our most vulnerable and divided Labour run-down council services.
Empower our young people, developing skills and active engagement in local and national democracy.
Support our independent traders, campaigning for rate-relief, stronger links between businesses and industry-specific work-skills.
As PCC candidate last year, 37,916 people supported me, so your vote can make a difference.
DAN THOMAS, CONSERVATIVE: Labour have had the power to change things for decades.
As your MP, I will stand up to Labour and stop them taking you for granted.
The majority of people in Islwyn voted for Brexit, as did I. I will support the PM’s plan for Brexit.
I grew up in Islwyn, I care about local people and want to help them have a better life.
I want to help hard working families by reducing income tax for low earners and capping energy prices. We can only invest in public services if we have a strong economy.
MATTHEW KIDNER, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Candidate failed to provide statement.