WITH the General Election less than a week away, each of the candidates running in Torfaen have explained why they think you should vote for them.

Morgan Bowler-Brown - Plaid Cymru

South Wales Argus:

I moved to Newport from Pontypridd six years ago when working in London. I wanted to be closer to work without leaving Wales to remain close to my family.

Mr Johnson's deal cannot compete with the deal we already have. Brexit was a vote for change, definitely, but no-one voted to make themselves poorer. Now people know what the outcome of Brexit and his deal means for them and their families, it's better to ask them again are they happy to proceed.

It started with the people, it should end with them too. If the deal is being presented to Parliament after being approved by the people, then I would vote to pass - anything else would be undemocratic and would not heal the division across the UK.

If people truly knew how much of an impact they could have on their community if they wanted, then a lot of the problems we face would cease to exist overnight. Many people I speak to feel under-educated on how to get involved or intimidated by those already in politics. Politics is for everyone. Everything is political. Be the change you want to see.

My mother stood as a councillor when I was a child. She did it because no one else wanted to challenge the incumbent who wasn't doing anything to help the local community. By the time she stepped down, she had helped open three local community/drop in centres, making a real lasting impact on the town I grew up in.


Andrew Heygate-Browne - Green Party

South Wales Argus:

I am 35 years young, married, with two lovely daughters, four and three years old, I am proud to live close to Pontypool and I work as an energy saving scheme project manager for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water while my wife works for the NHS helping return newborn babies to health before they can go home.

I was saddened about the lack of choice where often the same old faces from only one established party ran for some local elections and many people had given up on voting, seeing little change. My mother is also Dutch and has contributed to this country for many years but can’t even express a democratic vote in many elections directly affecting her future, which I think is shameful. We need electoral reform to address wasted votes and represent all of our community.

We need to reverse the funding gap that has left many young people leave to find jobs elsewhere and give a universal income to support everyone. That means more money for the NHS, higher minimum wage and more EU funding in the valleys rather than being spent directing everyone to the cities.

We would not support foreign wars in Iraq or seek a nuclear deterrent like the big parties when they were in power. We would shield our NHS from US trade talks. We would fight to protect the environment for our shared future.

John Miller - Liberal Democrats

South Wales Argus:

The economic argument against Brexit is undeniable. Not only does it threaten manufacturing jobs which we currently enjoy, but makes the inward investment this area desperately needs, unlikely. This is born out by the Tesla decision to set up its European plant in Berlin because the UK will no longer be part of the EU.

Liberal Democrats are committed to ending this damaging process and I am proud to have been nominated candidate for Torfaen, the constituency where I was born and bred.

My party has been the strongest voice for a people’s vote. As the coalition junior partner we prevented the Tories from committing the worse of its excesses, which we have subsequently seen.

During our period in government we lifted three million of the lowest paid out of income tax. We also cut tax breaks for the rich. Our green credentials were highlighted when we created the world’s first national green investment bank.

We produced the first net increase in social housing for 30 years.

Our current manifesto includes help for the NHS, free childcare, a promise to generate 80 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030 and we will pursue people and companies who are not paying their fair share of tax.

A Liberal Democrat vote is a vote for a fair, free, open society.

Graham Smith – Conservatives

South Wales Argus:

I was born in Newport at the Royal Gwent and was brought up near Pontypool. I went to Caerleon Comprehensive School before studying Mechanical Engineering at Brunel University.

I work in Cwmbran for a company that makes electrical parts for rail and industrial applications. I’ve previously worked in the aerospace industry, travelling widely in the UK and overseas.

I was elected to Torfaen Council in 2008 for New Inn ward and re-elected in 2012 when I was also elected to Pontypool Community Council.

I contested Torfaen in the 2007 Welsh Assembly election, the 2015 General Election, the 2016 Assembly Election and then the 2017 General Election. I’ve served as a school governor and been involved with voluntary groups in Torfaen and beyond.

I’m married with five children and I enjoy DIY and gardening when time permits.

I’ve lived near Pontypool for much of my life and been a Torfaen and Community Councillor so I know Torfaen and the challenges we have.

Like the majority of Torfaen voters, I backed Leave so we can make our own laws, control our own borders and prosper by our own efforts. I want us to get Brexit done so we can move forward.

David Thomas - Brexit Party

South Wales Argus:

I’m David Thomas, a lifelong Torfaen resident and businessman. Like nearly 29,000 fellow residents I voted to leave the EU in 2016 and have watched as our politicians do their best to make sure Torfaen’s voice is ignored. Careerist, self-serving MPs have let us down again and again: It’s time for change.

We have stagnated under an ungrateful Labour Party for more than 101 years. The areas that were deprived in my youth are still deprived. The education system is failing our children, with two out of six of our secondary schools in special measures. GPs remain difficult to access, council tax rises annually while services decline, the list goes on.

I want to be your MP because I believe that I can have a positive impact on these issues and crucially restore Torfaen’s voice in Westminster. I’m offering Torfaen policies for Torfaen residents - real and meaningful actions that will benefit you and your family. I’m an exceptionally hard-working councillor and MP candidate and I vow to be the hardest working MP - working tirelessly on behalf of everyone in our home constituency.

I’m the only candidate that can beat Labour, we know that a vote for the uninterested, paper Conservatives candidate here in Torfaen is a wasted vote - if you vote Conservative, we’ll keep Labour. Lend me your support and get the real change that the borough so richly deserves.

So please make sure your vote counts. Vote for change, vote for Torfaen, vote for David Thomas on December 12.


Nick Thomas-Symonds – Labour

South Wales Argus:

It has been the privilege of my life to represent my home seat in Parliament over the past four years. I grew up in Blaenavon, seeing the damage Margaret Thatcher did to our valleys. It made me determined to make the case for the extraordinary talents of local people, who need a government that is on their side.

As an MP, my proudest achievement is securing changes to the law to make off-patent medicines more widely available on the NHS. I know that has helped people locally and across the country, including people fighting cancer, Parkinson’s and MS.

In the Brexit debates, I’ll continue to put the job and livelihoods of local people first. I recognise the wide range of views locally, but I could never put local jobs at risk in a bad deal, or support sacrificing our NHS in a trade deal with Donald Trump.

However, this election is about a government for five years, not just one issue. Our communities and our public services face unprecedented strain after nine years of Tory austerity. The impact of five more years of cuts is unthinkable.

Instead, we need a government that will rebuild our public services, create the green jobs that will help address climate change, and tackle the rising issue of poverty. We’ve seen in Torfaen how Universal Credit has failed, driving up debt, increasing foodbank use, and making those in and out of work worse off. Labour will invest in our public services and scrap Universal Credit.