The seat was vacated last week by Roy Hughes who had a majority of 9,899 at the 1992 election. Mr Howarth can expect stiff opposition, and the expected contenders are Bryan Davies, a frontbencher whose Oldham Central and Royton seat is set to disappear under boundary changes; Mike Smith, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union in Wales; and Reg Kelly, an official of the Communication Workers' Union. Tony Heath
Alan Howarth, the MP for Stratford-on-Avon who crossed the floor to join Labour in 1995 is bidding to become MP for Newport East. Mr Howarth confirmed: "I will ask the constituency party if they will consider me. It is of course a decision for them. There's no question of me being imposed on the constituency."