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 Phillip Taylor of the Democrats and Veterans Party.

WHILE all the 11 parties running in the Newport West by-election are calling for some degree of political change, the Democrats and Veterans Party is the only one calling for the entire political system to be reformed.

The party's flagship policy is direct democracy - when decisions are made directly by the people rather than elected group of representatives, generally through referendums.

And candidate Phillip Taylor, an army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he hopes his approach as someone new to politics will stand him in good stead when voters go to the polls on April 4.


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"I'm not a career politician by any means," he said.

"And this is the problem - we keep electing the same people and they keep making the same mistakes.

"If we elect someone different, they'll be able to do things differently.

"Of the two main parties, one brought a decade of austerity, the other brought the austerity about.

"That can't go on.

"We have a different view on what politics should be and what the way forward should be."

The father-of-one said he sees the big issues facing Newport as homelessness - particularly among armed forces veterans - transport, and death rates in the health services.

"The homeless people on our streets are there because of the failed policies of the past," he said.

The Democrats and Veterans Party is one of the newest political parties in the UK, having only been founded last year, and supports Brexit – including leaving with no deal if Parliament cannot come to an agreement.

Mr Taylor and his party colleagues are also in favour of the M4 relief road – but as only part of a wider investment in transport, including electrification of the rail line - and also believe the Welsh Assembly in its current form should be scrapped and replaced with a system where an organisation similar to the Welsh Local Government Association has control over decisions - with the ultimate say up to the people.

“Devolution has worked to a point, but it’s stagnated,” he said.

“It’s still working on the old systems of the past and failed policies of the past.

“The same as the EU, we say the Assembly and Westminster are broken and not fit for purpose.”

And he doesn't leave any room for doubt on the governments either side of the M4.

"Representative democracy has failed," he said.

"There is no two ways about that.

"Through direct democracy we want to give people back the voice and the power they deserve and should have.

"It's down to the people to decide of they want to go forward with the same failed systems of the past with the same failed politicians of the past, or whether they want a new voice or new way ahead."


Age: 38

Originally from: Born in Germany, grew up in Newport

Education: Went to school in Duffryn, and later in Kent

Professional background: Served as a Bombadier with the Army reserves, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today works as a self-employed engineer

Political background: Has never run in an election before

Family: Lives with his girlfriend, has one son, 11

Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends


- 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