This post focuses on the East Gwent constituencies, the West will follow. All of the Parliamentary constituencies in Gwent are within unitary authority boundaries and as such we can take the 2008 Welsh council elections as a good indicator for what is to come. With the exception of Monmouthshire, Gwent was previously a predominantly Labour county however they took quite a battering in the council elections so we'll see what bearing this will have on the upcoming general election.
So we'll start with the exception, Monmouth, currently one of only three Tory constituencies in Wales. The council is overwhelmingly Tory, they added to an already massive majority in the council elections increasing their seats from 24 to 29, elsewhere Labour lost two seats coming second with just seven and the LibDems gained two seats, a grand total of five.
The current Conservative MP David Davies is ending his first term in Monmouth. His predecessor, Huw Edwards, had success with Labour in the '91 by election, lost in '92 but regained in '97 and '01, a reasonably prolific run for Labour in a largely Tory area. Davies won the last general election with a strong majority and hasn't done a great deal wrong. Although there was a slight expense issue involving little under £2000 paid to his Father's company, Burrow Heath, for services including leaflet design and photography. He has defended it claiming that the work would have cost more elsewhere and he has paid back the money without appeal. Prior to the emergence of this Edwards' successor, and Davies' closest competitor, Hamish Sandison came under scrutiny over contracts awarded to Bird & Bird (with whom he is a senior partner) and donations to the labour party. With this in mind, and the current majority, I think it's almost certainly another Conservative year in Monmouth.
Labour took a real battering in Newport's 2008 council elections losing eight seats, leaving them with nineteen. This was still two more than the Tories, who gained five, however in a council of fifty this resulted in no overall control. Newport is divided into two constituencies, East and West.
Newport East is currently Jessica Morden's constituency. Elected in 2005 having been selected as a result of Labours All Women's Shortlist (ASW) Morden became South-East Wales' first female MP with a majority of nearly 7000. LibDem Ed Townsend, who came second last time around, is running again although as the council elections in Newport show that Newport appears to be more Tory leaning so I imagine that they will be the main competition this time around, they were only pushed into third by 92 votes so they were pretty much neck and neck last time. Dawn Parry, a former district councillor in North Somerset, is the Tory candidate hoping for a surprise gain. Personally I think Morden will do it again. LAB Hold.
Moving swiftly on to Newport West where the current MP is Paul Flynn who has been in office since 1987. With a record like that I think it's safe to say that he'll take some beating. He's had to pay back £2625 that he was apparently overpaid for mortgage interest which he paid back (and a little more) without appeal. His 1987 majority was his smallest to date and this year the only person standing against him from last time around is UKIP's Hugh Moelwyn Hughes. The only person I would expect he'd be worried about is Tory candidate Matthew Williams, more due to Tory support in the council elections than the candidate himself. However I think that Labours loss in the council elections being shared between Tory and LibDem seats would lend itself to Flynn being able to hang on. LAB Hold.
Torfaen is a primarily Labour council and constituency. Similarly to Newport the council election results resulted in NOC after a massive loss of 16 Labour seats. However Labour still hold a significant majority with many of their seats going to Independent candidates. Similarly to Flynn, Torfaen's MP Paul Murphy has held his seat since 1987, accumulating many large majorities in his time. He has some minor expense issues which he's yet to fully pay back, for cleaning, mortgage interest overpayments and a wardrobe! I can't see this being enough to oust him though so I'm going to agree with the odds. LAB Hold.