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Campaigner who challenged day centre closure standing as independent candidate

Owen Lewis is standing as an independent in the Monmouthshire constituency at the general election (Pic: Supplied)

A CAMPAIGNER who challenged the closure of a day centre is standing as an independent candidate at the general election. 

Owen Lewis said since becoming involved in the campaign to try and save the Tudor Centre in Abergavenny he has also taken a stand on bank closures and supporting the high street. 

“I had thought I could get more involved in local issues, and my partner, George, had already said perhaps it’s something I should do but I wasn’t sure, and when the election did come I thought why not go for it?,” said Mr Lewis of his decision to put his name forward as the potential MP for Monmouthshire. 

“It’s a good platform and chance to raise these local issues and also reach out on global issues and issues that are never really talked about like the vulnerable and how these things affect them.” 

The closure of the Tudor Centre was first announced in November 2022 by Monmouthshire County Council’s then Labour minority administration. Campaigners forced a partial u-turn, and the council eventually decided the service for adults with learning disabilities should be based at the Melville Theatre. It is also in talks with campaigners about the possibility of them taking on the Tudor Centre. 

That process has been led by Green Party councillor, Ian Chandler, who has responsibility for social services in the council’s Labour led cabinet, and he is the Green candidate in the general election. 

Labour candidate, Monmouth county councillor, Catherine Fookes had, with other councillors, helped campaigners who intend taking over the centre develop a plan and an alternative service that opened late last year as a stop gap before the Melville Centre is adapted. 

Mr Lewis grew up in Abergavenny and returned to the town, after studying in Bristol, after getting involved in the Tudor Centre campaign and the aspiring writer now works in a local bookshop. 

That has sparked his interest in supporting high streets and a campaign against the closure of the Barclays Bank branch while his campaign also focuses on international issues, including Gaza. 

A lack of faith in party politics has motivated Mr Lewis to stand as an independent and said: “A lot of people are opposed to the Conservatives and want to get them out but are actually unhappy with Labour and don’t really understand what its policies are and I’ very concerned with Kier Starmer. 

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“If Labour get in locally they will have to follow the party rules of Kier Starmer but as an independent I can be the voice for local people and put that forward and represent all the voices that are not being heard”. 

Despite the profile and strength of established parties Mr Lewis said he isn’t deterred: “I work in a bookshop and a lot of people have come in and said they will vote for me. I’ve been going to hustings and putting my name out there and have people going around Monmouthshire campaigning. I have a good team flyering for me. It’s postive and you never know, anything is possible.” 

 Full list of candidates in the Monmouthshire constituency:  

  • Ioan Rhys Bellin, Plaid Cymru     
  • Ian Chandler, Green Party  
  • David Thomas Charles Davies, Welsh Conservative   
  • June Davies, True & Fair Party   
  • Catherine Ann Fookes, Welsh Labour  
  • Owen Lewis, Independent  
  • Emma Meredith, Heritage Party   
  • William Denston Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrats   
  • Max Windsor-Peplow, Reform UK