The General Election takes place on May 7 and Caerphilly Observer has asked all the candidates in the county borough to submit 100 words. Here we profile the Caerphilly constituency.
The Islwyn constituency covers the Argoed, Aberbargoed, Crumlin, 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 seat has been held by Labour since the ward was created in 1983, most recently by Chris Evans who won 49.2% of the vote in 2010, with the Conservatives second with 14%.
Islwyn has an electorate of 54,826 and the turnout in the last General Election was 63.3%, compared with 65.1% nationally.
Eight candidates will be battling for your votes in Islwyn on election day, May 7.
LYN ACKERMAN, PLAID CYMRU: Lyn was brought up in Crumlin and has lived in Newbridge since 1989, so she knows her constituency very well.
She was educated in Crumlin High Level and Newbridge Comprehensive.
She has represented Caerphilly on the country borough council for over 15 years and campaigns tirelessly for her local area.
She has two children, Emyr and Rhianydd, and is very active in the local community.
• Lyn Ackerman was unable to provide a biography for personal reasons. This profile was taken from Plaid Cymru’s website
BRENDAN D’CRUZ, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Dr. Brendan D’Cruz is a part-time academic and educational consultant specialising in project management.
He is Diversity Officer for the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Chair of the South Wales East Valleys local party.
He is fed up with voters being taken for granted in safe Labour seats, and hopes this election changes things.
He champions affordable childcare, better education, sustainable development and green growth, clamping down on tax avoidance, improved Welsh NHS performance and more nurses, parity of mental health, and more jobs and apprentices.
CHRIS EVANS, LABOUR AND CO-OPERATIVE: It has been my privilege to have served as your local MP. In that time I have met so many people who have suffered under this Tory Government.
The young who leave school not knowing if they will have a job, hardworking families stretching their budgets to pay for necessities and the elderly having to decide between heating and eating.
Islwyn cannot take another five years of Tory Government. We need a government with a plan for the many not the few.
I pledge to work each and every day for you, to give my heart and soul to Islwyn.
LAURA JONES, CONSERVATIVE: Born, raised and educated in South East Wales, Laura then went on to represent the area as a Welsh Assembly Member between 2003 and 2007.
Aged just 24 when elected, Laura was the then youngest Parliamentarian in Britain since William Pitt the Younger.
Her appearance on BBC’s Question Time, shortly after bring elected, increased her public profile. Laura, a mother to five-year-old son Henry, who now attends the same primary school that she went to, where she is now governor – is a keen businesswomen and councillor, who is still very active within her local community on a voluntary basis.
BARON VON MAGPIE, MONSTER RAVING LOONY PARTY: Von Magpie Bum describes himself as an old punk rocker gone bad.
He now amuses himself and others dancing with the Caldicot Based Border Urban Morris Side (BUMS) and singing in Risca Male Choir. Generally not at the same time, or he falls over.
His policies include: Put all parliamentary representatives on national minimum wage, the use of stocks will be reintroduced to punish people who litter our beautiful Islwyn countryside and jobs for unemployed people will be generated by introducing traditional Welsh Pickled Onion farms to the Islwyn area.
JOSHUA RAWCLIFFE, TRADE UNIONIST AND SOCIALIST COALITION: I’m a 26-year-old single dad, biker, play in two rock bands and have toured Europe as well as modelling.
I’ve lived in Newbridge for nearly 15 years. It’s where I grew up, went to school, and will always be my home.
Becoming a father made me think about the world that awaits my son. Britain needs change and reform. I feel TUSC truly represents what Britain is, and was; a party that represents, benefits and enables working class Britain.
We’re the only party that opposes all the cuts and supports the nationalisation of all public services.
JOE SMYTH, UKIP: Joe Smyth lives in Newbridge with his family.
He joined the Royal Engineers at 16 in Chepstow as an Army apprentice.
After he served his apprenticeship he joined 9 Para Sqn RE and soon afterwards was attached to 3 PARA during the Falklands war.
After leaving the Army he joined the probation service as a supervisor for community service, and is currently employed in the transport and logistics industry.
He knows that he has the experience of real life, common sense and hard work behind him to make an impact for the people of Wales.
PETER VARLEY, GREEN PARTY: I was born in 1957 in Salisbury. My family moved to South Wales in 1971.
After working abroad for seven years in Japan and Spain, I am now back in Wales and living once again in Bettws.
My six key policies are: end the austerity agenda by introducing a Citizens’ Income, bring essential infrastructure back into public ownership, starting with the railways, support renewable energy, stop using unsustainable, polluting energy sources – oppose fracking and nuclear power, keep our food GM-free and safe to eat, cancel Trident – defend ourselves and our future without attacking others.