Woman, 89, to stand in elections

AN 89-year old woman has been picked by the Liberal Democrats to fight for a seat on Newport City Council, but both the party and the candidate are refusing to discuss her campaign.

The party is fighting 47 of the city's 50 seats.

In the Stow Hill ward, Winifred Lee, 89, is standing while Megan Rees ward, 83, is contesting an Allt-yr-yn seat.

Mrs Lee declined to speak to the Argus about the forthcoming election campaign and Newport Liberal Democrats chairman Councillor David Hando said the party were refusing to put her forward for interview.

Councillor Hando said: "They are both senior members of the party and we are proud to have them carrying the banner.

"They don't expect to win but they are giving people the opportunity to vote Liberal Democrat."

Three students - Thomos Forsey, 18, Lisa Berry, 19, and 20-year-old Oliver Townsend - are standing in Alway.

Oliver's father is Ed Townsend, leader of the council's Lib Dem group. He is standing again in St Julians ward and so his wife, Carmel.

Cllr Peter Davies, Conservative Stow Hill ward, said: "It's interesting to see a party that kicked out its former leader for being too old now taking on candidates who are in their later years.

"I consider she will be a most charming opponent."

Matthew Evans, Conservative opposition leader on the city council said: "If they are serious candidates and able to do the job that is fine but if it's getting to the stage where they are just putting somebody up so they can just have more candidates it makes a bit of a mockery of the democratic process."

A spokesman for the Labour Party said: "The Lib Dems are perfectly entitled to select whoever they feel is appropriate but what matters to local are the crazy policies of the Lib Dems and their dreadful record where they hold power in Cardiff, Bridgend, Swansea and Wrexham."

* The average age of councillors presently sitting on Newport council is 59.

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