A former MP for the constituency once held by NHS founder Aneurin Bevan and ex-Labour leader Michael Foot has died, his family said today.
Tributes were paid to former Blaenau Gwent MP Llew Smith, who was also an MEP for 10 years, after he lost his cancer battle aged 77.
The “radical socialist” succeeded Foot as the local MP for the South Wales Valleys’ stronghold in 1992 and held the seat until he stood down at the 2005 election.
The constituency was created in 1983 and includes Bevan’s old seat, Ebbw Vale.
In the 1983 and 1992 general elections, Blaenau Gwent was Labour’s safest seat in the UK.
But the party lost the constituency in 2005 when Peter Law, who had been the local Labour member in the Welsh Assembly, ran as an independent following a bitter row over the imposition of an all-women shortlist.
The Welsh party’s leader, First Minister Mark Drakeford, said: “I’m saddened to hear of Llew’s passing.
“As a Member of the European Parliament and the Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent, Llew was a fierce advocate for the communities he represented.
“He was firm in his beliefs, and never shied from speaking out on the important issues of the day.
“Llew was a radical socialist in the Blaenau Gwent tradition.
“My thoughts are with Llew’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith, who won the seat back for Labour in 2010 and has a 8,647 majority, said: “I’m very sad to hear that Llew Smith has passed away.
“Llew will be missed by many.
“He was a well-respected MP who battled for the constituency against the Conservatives every day.
“He was very sure of his principles and did his best by Blaenau Gwent.
“My condolences to his family.”