Newport West by-election: Who are the candidates?

This Thursday, voters in Newport West will pick who will represent them in an increasingly fractious Westminster Parliament.

Whoever wins will join the institution just a week before the UK is due to leave the European Union.

While some candidates are keener to push local issues, others are more willing to talk about Brexit.

The election , who served the constituency since 1987.

Labour will be hoping to hold on to the seat, but the Tories have had a sizeable vote in the seat in recent years.

Mr Flynn had a majority of 5,688 in 2017, but by 2015 it was 3,510.

It is a crowded field and the ballot paper will feature 11 candidates – including much smaller parties looking to make an impact.

A major topic has been whether the M4 relief road should be built.

That is despite the fact the issue is not being dealt with by the Parliament the winner would be elected to, but is devolved to Cardiff Bay‘s National Assembly.

Candidates were interviewed by Wales during the week of the second attempt to pass the Brexit deal through the Commons in March.

Ruth Jones is standing for the Labour party.

The candidate grew-up in the Newport West estate of the Gaer. She is a trained physiotherapist who became a full-time trade union official in 2016.

Ms Jones said voters wanted to send a message that “austerity was not working”.

“There is a danger that the national papers and the media will see it as a Brexit by-election, but the people of Newport West will be looking to replace their much-loved MP,” she said.

“We can‘t accept a damaging Tory Brexit or a no-deal outcome” she argued, adding: “I would support preparing for a public vote just in case Parliament isn‘t able to achieve a sensible Brexit.

“Whatever is going on in Parliament at the moment, people in Newport West want to make sure they are safe, and their jobs are safe”.

Issues raised on the doorstep, she said, included levels of crime and the M4 relief road, which she has backed.

Conservativecandidate is Matthew Evans – the 55-year-old is leader of Newport council‘s Tory group who led the authority between 2008 and 2012.

“I‘m trying not to mention the b word, but inevitably it comes up in conversation,” he said, adding he was “campaigning hard for the M4 relief road”.

“I‘m very passionate about the city,” he said, focusing his campaign on his “track record” as a civic politician.

He campaign said the councillor was instrumental in ensuring .

“Having been raised in Newport, going back generations, I really think its got so much potential,” he said, adding that he wanted to “campaign and promote the city to a wider audience”.

Mr Evans voted leave in 2016. He said he would have given Theresa May‘s deal “serious consideration” if he had been an MP when it was put to the Commons and would want to weigh it up against a criteria of taking control of laws, borders, money and pursuing an independent trade policy.

Jonathan Clark is Plaid Cymru‘s candidate – he said the poll was a “real opportunity” for the party to showcase itself and its policies.

Born in what is now the Celtic Manor Resort, when it was a hospital, the 53-year-old has lived in Newport most of his life. He works in NHS recruitment.

“We‘re looking to develop the Plaid presence in the city and give people a real choice when it comes to this election,” he said.

“Because – at the moment – Westminster has pretty much lost the plot over various party infighting and all the rest of it.”

Plaid is also focusing on local issues such as congestion, affordable housing, over-development of housing and a “lack of decent integrated public transport”.

Mr Clark said Plaid was calling for a second referendum on the EU, but Brexit was “not a main issue” on the doorstep.

Neil Hamilton is UKIP‘s candidate and the party‘s UKIP Wales leader formerly led it in the assembly and served as a Tory MP for the English seat of Tatton up to 1997.

The 70-year-old said he was standing for the seat “because I want Brexit to be delivered”.

He accused the Conservative prime minister of shambolic Brexit negotiations and Labour of betraying the referendum result by committing themselves to a new poll.

“My feeling is neither the Labour candidate or the Tory candidate will want to talk about Brexit,” he said, stating his party would be happy if the UK left the EU without a deal.

“The important issue here is for Britain to become a self-governing democracy once again.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Ryan Jones, 32, is a company director of a construction company in Newport.

“Newport has been presented with this golden opportunity, with the tolls being axed from the Severn Bridge, making it possible to attract new businesses to Newport,” he said.

“But one of the things Newport is lacking is investment in infrastructure,” claiming that was because it returns Labour politicians.

“We need huge investment in public transport. , Newport certainly needs decent access to that.”

The party locally supports the M4 relief road as well, although not on a Welsh level, and the pro-Remain party wants a new vote on staying in the EU.

“Now that we know the facts of what leaving really is going to mean, we want to go back to the British people and say ‘is this what you want?‘” he added.

Other parties

Beyond the parties represented in the assembly are a number of smaller groups – with some familiar names and some newer parties.

The Green Party of England and Wales has nominated Amelia Womack – its deputy leader. The 34-year-old was born and brought up in Newport.

Her party, which has one UK MP, also supports a further referendum and is opposed to the M4 relief road.

“You wouldn‘t sign a contract without knowing the fine print,” she told Wales‘ Sunday Supplement programme last weekend.

“As a city we need to be making sure that we do support our economy… and it‘s beyond just Brexit, it‘s about making sure we tackle issues like austerity.”

The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, which campaigns for the closure of the Welsh legislature, has stood Richard Suchorzewski.

Ian McLean is the candidate for the Social Democratic Party – which has its roots in the SDP which merged with the Liberal party to become the Lib Dems, but is now pro-Brexit.

A new pro-Remain party, Renew, has nominated June Davies. The party said it was set up by a “small, determined group of people who were politically homeless”.

Hugh Nicklin is standing for For Britain, founded by anti-Islam activist and former UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters.

Democrats and Veterans is led by John Rees-Evans, another former UKIP leadership candidate. The party, which campaigns for “direct democracy”, has nominated Phillip Taylor as a candidate.