Wales politics

Vote 2011: Blaenau Gwent win delights Labour

Rhodri and Julie Morgan
Image caption Capital gains: Julie Morgan's victory in Cardiff North was one of two seats taken by Labour in the city from the Conservatives and Lib Dems

Labour has won back Cardiff Central, Cardiff North and the valleys seat of Blaenau Gwent, which marks the end of an unhappy chapter for the party.

Alun Davies won Blaenau Gwent back with 64% of the vote, beating the independent into second.

The loss of the seat was a severe blow to Labour in 2005.

Sitting Labour AM Peter Law then became an independent in protest at the party's imposition of an all-woman shortlist for the Westminster seat.

Mr Law was elected the MP and remained the AM for the seat, but he died in 2006.

His widow Trish was then elected the independent AM, and she held the seat until standing down at this election.

Another independent, Dai Davies, became the MP in 2005, but Labour's Nick Smith regained the parliamentary seat last year with a majority of over 10,000.

Mr Davies was the Labour AM for Mid and West Wales in the last assembly, but gave up that seat to fight Blaenau Gwent.

Speaking after the result, he said it was a "humbling experience to be elected to serve the people from whom you come".

"This moment has been a long time coming," he said. "It's been a long journey to come home. I think many of us have come home this evening. And I hope also that Blaenau Gwent has finally come home to Labour.

"In winning this election I hope we haven't one an electoral or mathematical victory.

"I hope today we have won the trust and won the hearts and minds of people here again. Let me say to you we will never let you down again, we will work hard for you, we will be with you, we will put Blaenau Gwent centre state, we will put Blaenau Gwent at the heart and at the top of the political agenda."

The party's Julie Morgan, wife of former first minister Rhodri Morgan, won the Cardiff North seat she had held as an MP until last year, while Jenny Rathbone regained Cardiff Central and Vaughan Gething held Cardiff South and Penarth for Labour, becoming the assembly's second ethnic minority AM.

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones led the way in Bridgend, with the following Labour AMs returned across the region:

Mark Drakeford (Cardiff West), John Griffiths (Newport East), Rosemary Butler (Newport West), Jane Hutt (Vale of Glamorgan), David Felix Rees (Aberavon), Gwenda Thomas (Neath), Janice Gregory (Ogmore), Leighton Andrews (Rhondda), Mick Antoniw (Pontypridd), Christine Chapman (Cynon Valley), Huw Lewis (Merthyr Tydfil), Jeff Cuthbert (Caerphilly), Gwyn Price (Islwyn), Lynne Neagle (Torfaen).

Nick Ramsay retained Monmouth for the Conservatives.

Meanwhile, in the regional list for South Wales East Conservative candidates William Graham and Mohammad Asghar, and Plaid Cymru's Jocelyn Davies and Lindsay Whittle won seats.

In South Wales Central, Conservatives Andrew RT Davies and David Melding, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and Lib Dem John Dixon all returned.