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Lib Dems selects former Assembly Member William Powell to stand in Monmouthshire

William Powell is the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Monmouthshire at the general election on July 4 (Pic: Supplied)

A FORMER Welsh Assembly Member has been selected as the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ general election candidate for Monmouthshire. 

William Powell represented the party in the Senedd, then known as the National Assembly, as a member for Mid and West Wales from 2011 to 2016 and is currently a Powys county councillor and member of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority. 

The former teacher has described himself as “a farmer’s son, born and bred in the Black Mountains” and said Monmouthshire, and especially Abergavenny, has a “unique place” in his heart as he spent three weeks in the ICU at Nevill Hall Hospital during the first Covid lockdown in 2020. 

‘I owe my survival to the outstanding care of clinicians and nurses of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, as well as to the follow up care of my wife Ria, who is also an NHS nurse practitioner. Now it’s time to repay my thanks with hard work and public service’ said Mr Powell. 

The following year he fought the Brecon and Radnorshire seat at the Senedd elections but failed to hold what was the only Liberal Democrat constituency as it fell to the Conservatives. 

The Monmouthshire seat, which now includes all of the local authority area, will be defended by Conservative Welsh secretary David Davies on July 4. He had a 9,982 majority in 2019 but the seat is a key target for Labour with Keir Starmer having launched the party’s Welsh campaign in Abergavenny.  

The Liberal Democrats finished third in the Monmouth constituency in 2019, with 4,909 votes a 9.8 per cent share, and the county was one of the few in Wales to have voted to remain in the European Union at the 2016 referendum. 

Mr Powell, a former chair of the Welsh European Movement, said he wants Britain to rejoin the European single market to benefit farmers and other businesses and said the Erasmus student exchange and developing an EU “youth mobility scheme” would be his alternative to the national service volunteering programme proposed by the Conservatives. 

The Liberal Democrats have traditionally occupied third place in the Monmouth constituency but fell to fourth place in 2015 with UKIP, which campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, finishing third. 

Mr Powell said he intends to be a “genuine Liberal voice” that “resonates” with local people’s “deeply held, common sense Welsh values” and said: “If elected I pledge to work tirelessly for local residents and to engage closely with Monmouthshire County Council, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, as well as the Senedd and Westminster – especially to tackle the twin crises of river pollution and the inadequate affordable housing stock.” 

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Labour’s candidate is Monmouthshire County Councillor Catherine Fookes while Green Party county councillor Ian Chandler is also standing and Plaid Cymru and the True and Fair Party are also due to stand candidates. Nominations close on Friday, June 7.

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