The Newport West by-election on April 4 will be significant for a number of reasons - not least that it will see a new MP elected for the constituency for the first time since 1987. There are an unprecedented 11 candidates standing in the election, and, in the latest in a series of interviews, IAN CRAIG met Liberal Democrat candidate Ryan Jones.

THE Liberal Democrats have had their fair share of ups and down in Newport.

Historically the party has put in a reasonable showing at the ballot box - albeit with more success in Newport East than in Newport West - and from 2008 until 2012 they ran the city council in coalition with the Conservatives.

But recent years have been less kind, with the party slipping down the polls. How much of this is down to backlash from that other Conservative-Lib Dem coalition - the one which ran Parliament from 2010 until 2015 - is difficult to say, but Ryan Jones, who is standing for the party in the Newport West by-election says he believes voters may be ready to give them another look.


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"We've had some really, really good responses on the doorstep," he said. "We've had some absolutely terrible responses too, but that's the nature of the beast."

Mr Jones, who supports the proposed 'black route' scheme on the M4, said the first job of Newport West's new MP should be to look at infrastructure.

"Newport at the moment doesn’t have a transport system fit for purpose," he said.

"We need so much investment in public transport, so much, but also the M4 route as it is is not fit for purpose."

He added: “Over the years Newport never been a contestable seat.

“It’s always fallen on the Labour side and, as such, successive governments haven’t had the incentive to offer Newport anything to get the votes.

“It needs a bit of a shake-up.

“It just seems Newport is being overlooked every time for infrastructure investment, and if we’re doing that, then we’re getting to a situation where, actually, why would employers want to come here?”

But Mr Jones said so far there’s been one main issue people have wanted to talk about on the campaign trail – Brexit.

Mr Jones, who supports a second referendum, said: “As much as people are trying to move the campaign to the M4 relief road and talk about really hyper-local issues like bin collections, the reality is, what people want to talk about in a Westminster election is Brexit.

“That’s 95 per cent of the conversations we’re having on the doorstep. The other five per cent are the NHS.”

Although it's events in Parliament which have been attracting headlines in recent weeks and months, Mr Jones said it was important both voters and candidates kept local issues at the forefront.

"There is to some element when it comes to a Westminster election that people think they're voting for Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May," he said.

"The reality of it is people I think lose sight of the fact that that they need someone who's a strong local voice as well.

"I've been guilty of it as well.

"The old message we would get is 'I would vote for you, but it’s a wasted vote'. But now people are saying 'I'm going to do it anyway - I'm going to vote for the Lib Dems'. That could really work in our favour."


Age: 32

Originally from: Cwmbran

Education: Went to school in Monmouth and Newcastle University

Professional background: Runs a construction firm

Political background: Previously ran for Newport City Council in St Julians

Family: Engaged to Laura, a nurse at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff

Hobbies: Travelling, supporting Sunderland AFC


- Jonathan Clark, Plaid Cymru

- June Davies, Renew

- Matthew Evans, Conservative

- Neil Hamilton, Ukip

- Ruth Jones, Labour

- Ryan Jones, Lib Dem

- Ian McLean, SDP

- Hugh Nicklin, For Britain

- Richard Suchorzewski, the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party

- Phillip Taylor, Democrats and Veterans Party

- Amelia Womack, Green Party