THE Newport West constituency encompasses the majority of the city centre, which has seen significant redevelopment in recent years, as well as some of the area’s most well-known landmarks.

The constituency covers Caerleon, Malpas and Bettws, as well as Bassaleg, Rogerstone, Marshfield and Duffryn, with Friars Walk, the city docks and the Celtic Manor Resort all falling within its borders.

The ongoing regeneration of the city centre has drastically changed the face of the constituency in recent years, with the long-awaited Friars Walk opening in November last year and more projects – including a new development at the University of South Wales city campus – set to go ahead in the near future.

The planned M4 relief road could also have a significant impact on residents and businesses in the area, as it will cut through the southern part of the constituency before rejoining the existing stretch of motorway.

Also falling within the ward is Duffryn High School, which to be renamed John Frost School this September in honour of the leader of the 1839 Chartist Uprising and found itself thrust into the headlines earlier this year when plans for a new classroom block and entirely new Welsh language secondary school at the site in Lighthouse Lane were thrown out following concerns around flooding. But following an outcry it was announced the plans would be reconsidered by Newport City Council. This is expected to go ahead in May.

Dame Rosemary Butler was first elected as AM for the constituency in 1999 and has comfortably held onto the seat since, with her share of the vote never falling below 40 per cent. But the Labour stalwart – who has served as the Assembly’s Presiding Officer since 2011 – is stepping down this year.

Although Jayne Bryant is hoping to hold onto the seat for Labour, opposition parties are bringing out some of the big guns, with former Newport Mayor and city council member for Allt-yr-yn Matthew Evans contesting the seat for the Conservatives and former Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti also throwing her hat into the ring.

Labour stalwart Paul Flynn has served as MP for Newport West since 1987.

As with the majority of the rest of Gwent – with the exception of Monmouthshire – unemployment in Newport West is higher than average at 3.9 per cent. The national average is currently 2.5 per cent. Pay is also slightly lower than the national average of £530 a week at £490. Child poverty is also higher than average at 21.9 per cent, in comparison with the national average of 18.2 per cent.

Although house prices are around £42,000 cheaper than the national average at £149,995, this is almost £8,000 more expensive than just over the Usk in Newport East.

The most recent data shows 2,060 businesses registered in the area – about 400 more than in Newport East, although this can at least partially be accounted for by the majority of the city centre falling in the western side of the city. This is also the second-highest number of businesses in Gwent, second only to Monmouthshire – which is significantly geographically larger and generally more affluent.

The proportion of people aged 65 and older in Newport West is also slightly higher than the national average at 17.6 per cent. This is significantly more than just over the River Usk in Newport East, where the figure is 16.3 per cent.


Pippa Bartolotti (Wales Green Party)

South Wales Argus:

I’m working for a world where half the wetlands are not under dire threat, where one quarter of mammals are not in danger of extinction, and where half the forests have not been destroyed.

I know we have the means to reverse this, right here, right now.

Consecutive Welsh Governments have sold us short on social, economic and environmental action.

We must no longer let ‘The Market’ make decisions for us.

It has failed every time.

Boom and bust, pollution and low wages have been the result.

It’s a new world and Greens have a new vision.

We must stop burning fossil fuels and invest in renewables for economic stability, clean air and many more jobs.

We must invest in our own local businesses, build zero carbon housing to take people out of fuel poverty, and keep the NHS in public hands.

Good jobs, healthy housing, free education, and sustainable transport systems are my top priority - all linked to the Green goal of a cleaner, smarter Wales.

It’s time to shake up the Senedd.

Vote Green on your regional ballot and I will work hard for a Wales we can all be proud of.

The future starts on May 5.

Jayne Bryant (Welsh Labour)

South Wales Argus:

The choice is clear.

A Welsh Labour government led by Carwyn Jones or the Tories who will cut school funding and privatise our NHS.

Voting for Welsh Labour means a helping hand for parents, breathing space for small businesses and continuing improvement in schools, plus the latest treatments for the sick and fairness for the older generation.

As the first in my family to go to university, I will work to make sure that all young people have a fair chance of the best in education and jobs.

That is Welsh Labour’s priority.

Promises made in Wales and delivered in Wales.

Fairness not greed.

Politics is at its best when all work together.

That’s happening in the vital campaign to save the Welsh steel industry.

Newport Labour is proud of Friars Walk as a magnet for new commercial prosperity and city pride.

This has to be the start.

Please give me the chance to help build a bright future for the city we love.

I will work hard to earn your trust.

If elected I will be a visible, accessible and energetic representative who will always put Newport first.

I relish the chance to serve.

Simon Coopey (Plaid Cymru)

South Wales Argus:

I’m standing for the simple reason I’m aiming for a better Wales, and I don’t think the current government has the ideas or even the will to achieve that.

We’ve had 17 years of the same party leading the Welsh Government, and we’re falling further and further behind the rest of the UK.

Almost 30 per cent of children in Newport live in poverty, but we have a government more concerned with spending our money on unneeded roads through our countryside and wasteful grants to ineffective projects.

It doesn’t matter at this election if you believe Wales should be independent or not - what matters is that you believe Wales should be a nation that could be independent if it ever chooses to.

If you want Wales to move forward, if you want Wales to become more prosperous, more influential, more capable, stronger, smarter, healthier, wealthier then be part of the change Wales needs and consider lending me your vote this May.

Elect a Plaid Cymru government that’s brave enough to stand up to London, and innovative enough to get Wales working again.

Remember - if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

Matthew Evans (Welsh Conservatives)

South Wales Argus:

I entered politics just over 17 years ago and my ambition has always remained the same: I want to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Newport.

As an elected councillor, as a past leader of Newport Council and as former Mayor I remain proud to serve Newport and to stand up for the city by opposing harmful and ill-conceived Welsh Labour policies.

The people of Newport deserve strong representation in the Welsh Assembly and deserve the benefits that economic growth will bring.

I will campaign for the long awaited improvements to our transport links including the M4 relief road and completion of the rail link to Ebbw Vale.

I will support local traders by pushing for a reduction in business rates.

I will continue to promote Newport as a great place to live, work and to invest in.

I have the experience and proven track record to address the issues and inequalities which directly impact on people’s lives.

A vote for me on May 5 gives Newport a chance to build on recent successes and to prosper.

The alternative is five more years of centre led, self-serving inaction.

Now is your best opportunity to vote for change.

Bill Fearnley-Whittingstall (Independent)

South Wales Argus:

Like many people today I no longer support any political party. I believe that the people of Newport should be able to vote for an independent candidate, who will put the community’s needs before party interests.

Though Wales has a great health service, there are still areas of concern – delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, for instance, shortcomings in mental health services, under-investment in training.

South East Wales must have the M4 relief road, and Westminster should contribute to its cost. We also need an integrated Metro transport system, with greatly improved links to the rest of Wales.

We must enable our teachers to teach rather than tick boxes. We must also protect our schools from creeping privatization and the academies that threaten to strangle English schools.

We urgently need clean energy, so I strongly support creating tidal lagoons along the Bristol Channel, at Swansea, Cardiff and Newport.

The Welsh economy is growing faster than the English economy. We must maintain that growth, so that a strong Welsh economy can finance great services for the Welsh.

I want to work hard, not for a party, but for Newport and for Wales.

Mike Ford (Ukip Wales)

South Wales Argus:

I am a proud Newportonian, born in Malpas in 1962 and I have lived here all my life.

I am married with two grown-up children.

I work in the docks area for a small family business as a book-keeper.

In 1997, in common with most voters in Newport, I rejected devolution.

I just couldn’t see what it would add.

In the last 17 years I have been singularly unimpressed with the lack of progress on economic development (tens of thousands using food banks!), infrastructure investment (is the environmentally and economically damaging black route really the best we can do?), the poor state of our children’s education and the health service.

The quality of the debate in the Assembly is also nothing to write home about.

Now that the devolution "genie is out of the bottle" it will stay out, however, none of us have to accept the present state of affairs.

I have supported UKIP for over a decade -this is the only party that tells it like it is, with no spin and no hidden agenda.

I want a better Wales, better infrastructure, better education, a better Assembly.

I want better representation and a bigger and better voice for Newport West.

I am one of you and I will do my utmost to make your voice heard in the 5th Assembly.

Gruff Meredith (Cymru Sovereign)

South Wales Argus:

Westminster and the European Union are selling out Wales and Britain without us having any real say. Their disastrous economic planning, draconian laws and immoral foreign policies make them dangerous and morally bankrupt institutions that will ruin all of our futures.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We the citizens of Wales can do far far better. Welsh sovereignty from Westminster and the EU would mean that Wales can pay its own way in the world with its own debt free currency.

Working with the other nations of Britain and elsewhere in friendship and trade, we can also pick the best and most common sense ideas from left and right politics for the benefit of all those that call Wales home.

Whether you’re born and bred in Wales or have come here more recently, help us to build a prosperous and sovereign Wales for today and for future generations.

Cymru Sovereign also believes that the current disastrous local development housing plans for Newport and other areas of Wales should be scrapped and that new and social housing are built to cater for local needs first and foremost.

Cymru Sovereign's ten point vision for Wales can be found here:

Liz Newton (Welsh Liberal Democrats)

South Wales Argus:

Being Newport born and bred, I have seen limited improvements in our city.

It's not good enough.

The people of Newport deserve better.

We need a change from the stale Labour politics that have been stalling our city since the Assembly began.

As a Community Councillor, I have worked hard to benefit my local area and want to take that work further, to benefit all of Newport.

I want to create a stronger Newport as part of a stronger Wales.

It is essential that we support small businesses by establishing a Welsh Development Bank; I want to see a transport, digital and social infrastructure fit for Newport and the world; I will encourage local businesses in Newport to take on more apprentices to ensure a modern workforce.

I will continue the fight for the scrapping of the Severn tolls, which is essential for the prosperity of South Wales East.

I will fight to ensure our wards have more nurses, better mental health treatment and improved GP access.

I will ensure our children have smaller class sizes and help our students with university living costs.

I will ensure we fund more affordable homes and help first time buyers to get on the housing ladder.