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 Green Party candidate Amelia Womack.

WITH climate change rarely far from the headlines, Amelia Womack is hoping voters in Newport West will send a message that time is running out to save the planet by voting for her next month.

The Newport native, who is also the Green Party’s deputy leader, has run in a number of other elections – but this is the first time she has stood in her home constituency.

Unsurprisingly, all her policies are either geared towards or against the backdrop of sustainability and benefitting the environment.

"For me the biggest issues in Newport West are tackling poverty while making sure we have future thinking that addresses the climate crisis, ensuring we're investing in our renewable future and in the future of public transport, and bringing jobs to Newport," she said.


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"On top of that it's so vitally important that we are talking about issues around regeneration in the city.”

She added: “For me regeneration is about supporting small business and small business owners and making sure we have that diversity on our high streets.

“It’s been disappointing to see a number of different businesses moving out to Spytty, or now to Friars Walk, and that has led to a decline on our high street. What can take that place?

“We are seeing a number of independent restaurants and shops springing up and we need to ensure we are giving support to those as a priority rather than the big businesses.”

Ms Womack is also opposed to the M4 relief road, saying she would rather the money was invested into public transport.

"Being from Newport I feel very passionate about the fact that Newport was one of the most important cities in the entire world during the industrial revolution, and I think we should have that ambition for the green industrial revolution," she said.

Ms Womack also said she would like to ensure there are more opportunities for young people to find work and get on the housing ladder.

Although she supports a so-called ‘people’s vote’ on the UK’s membership of the EU, Ms Womack added this in itself would not solve the problems brought up by the referendum result.

“It’s really important that we understand why people voted to leave,” she said.

“I’ve heard so many reasons, and a lot of them are about a disconnect with democracy.

“I feel there are many ways we could be challenging why people feel politics isn’t working for them, maybe by having a proportional system in Westminster.

“It’s vitally important that, whatever the outcome, the next step is to really understand why people voted to leave, because it’s essential that those reasons are addressed.”

Given Paul Flynn was elected for Newport West 1987 and successfully defended the seat in seven subsequent elections, many have characterised it as a safe Labour seat.

But Ms Womack said she did not think this was realistic, and that the people of Newport West were voting for Mr Flynn's rebellious nature rather than his Labour affiliation.

"I've always been inspired by Paul Flynn," she said. "I used to write to him as a constituent and get a lot of correspondence back from him, he would even sometimes personalise things and send me letters about things he thought I would be interested in.

"He was someone who did inspire me about how politics can work when you’ve got a good constituency MP and when there are lots of people who have faith in that MP and a relationship like I had where they felt confident in the work he was doing.

"So a lot of that vote was a vote for Paul Flynn, which gives an opportunity to do something different here.

"It also highlights that people wanted that independent voice rather than just people who will follow the party lines.

"Paul was that figure over that years and we need that voice again - it's not just about party politics, it’s about independent voices."


Age: 34

Originally from: Newport.

Education: Bassaleg School, undergraduate degree in environmental biology and a masters degree in environmental technology.

Professional background: Previously worked in science and sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Political background: Has supported the Green Party since she was old enough to vote. First stood for the party on Lambeth Council in 2014 and then for London MEP in the 2014 European Parliament election. Also stood for Camberwell and Peckham in the 2015 General Election. Back in Wales, she stood for Cardiff Central in the 2016 Assembly Election.

In 2014 she was elected deputy leader of the Green Party - the youngest deputy leader of a UK political party. She was re-elected in 2016.

Family: Not married, no children.

Hobbies: Live music.


- 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