GWENT campaigners including Newport MP Paul Flynn and Cwmbran pensioner Sue Cox have been applauded for their work supporting people with multiple sclerosis.

Mr Flynn has been shortlisted for Political Supporter of the Year in the annual awards ceremony run by the MS Society for his efforts to change the law to allow cannabis to be used for medicinal use in the UK.

And former police officer Mrs Cox, who was diagnosed with progressive MS in 2014 and uses cannabis to ease the symptoms, has been shortlisted in the Digital Media category for her Facebook page Cannabis4MSinWales, which campaigns for the drug to be legalised for medicinal use.

Marie Nixon, of Newport, and Russell Owen, of Monmouthshire - who care for their spouses Stuart and Sian respectively - have also both been shortlisted for Carer of the Year.

Wales' education secretary Kirsty Williams has also been shortlisted for Political Supporter of the Year for her work with a group of people living with MS in Llandrindod Wells in her constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire.

MS Cymru director Lynne Hughes said: “MS is an unpredictable condition that affects more than 100,000 people in the UK, almost 5,000 in Wales.

"It’s different for everyone, but is often painful and exhausting and can cause problems with how you walk, move, see, think and feel.

“The MS Society Awards are our way of recognising the amazing achievements of people with MS and those who go above and beyond the call of duty in supporting people with the condition.

“We are proud to have so many Welsh finalists this year, and we are looking forward to welcoming them to our awards ceremony later this month.

“In 2017 AM Mark Isherwood scooped the Political Supporter of the Year award and Natural Resources Wales won in the employer category – we’re hoping for Welsh winners this year too.”

The approval of medication is not devolved to Wales and the Home Office has repeatedly refused to allow cannabis to be used for medical reasons, despite research showing around 10 per cent of people with MS could benefit from using the drug.

Studies have suggested around 10 per cent of people with MS could benefit from using cannabis. And patients with other conditions which cause pain, such as cancer, have also reported benefits to using cannabis.

Although Mr Flynn was due to present a Private Member's Bill to allow the drug to be used for medicinal reasons in Parliament in February, it was placed on the back burner after preceding business over-ran.

The bill will instead be debated on Friday, July 6.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Friday, April 27.

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