A GWENT barrister will fight the Torfaen seat for the Labour Party in May’s general election.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, 34, secured the party’s nomination after the incumbent MP and former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy announced in January he was stepping down.

Mr Thomas-Symonds beat four others to the nomination at a party meeting yesterday.

He was born at Panteg Hospital, grew up in Blaenavon and lives in Abersychan with his wife and two daughters. He attended St Alban’s School in Pontypool and attended Oxford University, where he has lectured in politics.

He said: “It is a great honour to win the Labour nomination for my home constituency of Torfaen with such incredible support from local party members.  

"I now look forward to putting the Labour case to the people of Torfaen. I will be working extremely hard for their support, campaigning to end the destructive policies of the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition and to return a Labour government in May, which is vital for our communities and public services in Torfaen.” 

He has written biographies of Labour giants Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan.

He said: “They inspire me because of the great improvements they brought about for working people, not least the National Health Service, which I am passionate about defending.” 

A barrister for over a decade, he has been a Labour activist in Torfaen for 17 years and is the secretary of his local party.

In securing the nomination he beat Newport councillor Majid Rahman, the former political director of Greenpeace Joss Garman, tax and devolution adviser Sarah Woodall and businessman Hywel Lloyd.  

And current MP Mr Murphy said: “I have known Nick for many years now and know he would make an excellent MP for Torfaen. As well as his work as a barrister, Nick is a distinguished academic and historian – his recent book on Aneurin Bevan is excellent. Most importantly of all though, Nick is rooted in our community - having been raised in Blaenavon, he now lives with his wife and daughters in Abersychan.

“Those local roots were very evident in his speech at the selection conference, where he talked with great passion about how his upbringing as the son of a steelworker moulded his politics. I could not think of a more worthy successor and would urge Torfaen voters to put their trust in Nick on 7th May, just as they gave me such loyal support in my time as their MP.”

While the procedures secretary for the selection Anthony Hunt said: “We had five strong candidates here today and they all spoke excellently, which makes the scale of Nick’s victory in the vote all the more impressive. Nick is a local man born and bred, so as well as his intelligence and strong Labour values of compassion and social justice, his real dedication to the people of our valley shone through. He will make an excellent candidate and a great advocate for our community.”