A by-election is set to take place in Newport this month after the resignation of a long-standing city councillor.
A Newport City Council election will take place in the Graig ward on Thursday, August 26. It follows the resignation of Conservative Cllr Margaret Cornelius, who stepped down with immediate effect back in June.
Cllr Cornelius, who was first elected in 1990 and served as mayor in 2011, said at the time: “Due to an ongoing health issue, I no longer feel that I am able to fulfil the role to the level that the residents of the Graig ward and the citizens of Newport deserve.”
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The by-election for Graig, which is also represented by Conservative Cllr David Williams, will be contested by candidates from Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, including a former city councillor, a current community councillor and a local businessman.
Voters in the area will have from 7am until 10pm on Thursday, August 26 to vote. The last date for registration is Tuesday, August 10 and the deadline for receipt of postal vote applications is 5pm on Wednesday, August 11.
Labour has chosen John Harris as their candidate in the election. Mr Harris has lived in Bassaleg since 1985 and has been a community councillor for Bassaleg for ten years. He was involved in the creation of the Graig Diamond Jubilee Path and worked in the NHS for over thirty years, most recently in St Cadoc’s hospital in Newport.
The party said Mr Harris was “passionate about improving mental health services and community mental health, particularly amongst young people who have been hit hard by the pandemic and the disruption of their education.”
Newport Graig ward byelection Labour candidate John Harris
(Image: Newport Labour Party)
If elected, Mr Harris said he would also “do everything in his power to help Newport Labour’s ambition and efforts to make the city council carbon neutral.” As part of his commitment to environmental issues, he is also concerned about the level of public transport provision in Graig and would work to improve both that and active travel provision.
Labour Newport City Council Leader Jane Mudd said: “John is proud of his community and he will work tirelessly on behalf of the residents in the Graig. He understands the commitment needed as a public servant and the hard work involved. I know that John will speak up for his area at every opportunity and play an active role serving Newport as part of a Newport Labour Party which has ambitious plans for our city.”
The Conservative Party has chosen John Jones as their candidate for the election. Mr Jones, 57, is from Newport and was born in the east side of the city. He later moved to Rogerstone before moving to Bassaleg, where he has been for seven years.
A married father-of-three, Mr Jones runs Newport-based Swift Driver Recruitment along with his wife Maria. He is also a local authority governor for both Bassaleg School and Pentrepoeth Primary School.
Graig ward byelection Conservative candidate John Jones
If elected, Mr Jones said he intends to focus on issues such as fly-tipping in the Graig ward, wellbeing in schools and rejuvenating the city’s economy. He also believes building the M4 relief road would “create investment by companies coming in” to the city and make it “more competitive.”
“There has been a rise in fly-tipping across the city including in this ward on the likes of Penylan Road and Pentrepoeth Road,” he said.
“I am standing to make tackling those issues a priority. Graig is a lovely area and I am committed to working to make the Graig ward the ‘green’ ward.”
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The Liberal Democrats have chosen Jeff Evans as their candidate. Mr Evans is a former councillor who represented Beechwood for eight years and works as a transport planner in a consultancy.
According to his manifesto, Mr Evans is focused on improvement to public transport services in Graig and making the area “greener, safer and healthier.”
Mr Evans said a recent street survey conducted with residents had identified traffic as the “number one issue.
Liberal Democrats Graig by-election candidate Jeff Evans
(Image: Welsh Liberal Democrats)
“This included the volume of cars and vans, as well as speeding. Linked to this was rising concern about air quality,” he said.
“The second big concern is to do with the quality of the local environment, with fly tipping and litter a major worry. Whilst we know the council doesn’t generate litter, Newport is bottom of the list when it comes to clean streets according to Keep Wales Tidy.
“The final major issue relates to safety and fear of crime. The last few years has seen a reduction in police numbers and a deterioration in community policing that everyone values.”