Three candidates have now been declared to take on the challenge for the position of Wrexham’s 2016 Assembly, with more candidates likely to be added to the ballot.
Tonight saw Andrew Atkinson being selected by local Conservatives to stand, following a move by local Labour party members in reselecting current AM Lesley Griffiths. We have also had it confirmed that Carrie Harper will stand for Plaid Cymru.
The three are familiar faces to the people of Wrexham, with Lesley Griffiths the incumbent, and holding high office in the Assembly. Carrie Harper and Andrew Atkinson will both be known to voters after standing in the recent General Election.
Wrexham.com has been in touch with the candidates to get a flavour of their thoughts as the ballot paper comes together…
The current Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths has been confirmed as the 2016 Labour candidate, and has represented Wrexham for the past eight years.
Speaking about her decision to run for Wrexham’s AM, Ms Griffiths said she is ‘proud to have represented the very special constituency of Wrexham for over eight years’.
Ms Griffiths added: “In recent years, millions of pounds of Welsh Government funding have been invested in Wrexham and I will continue to ensure the area receives further high-level funding and support for key projects.
“Although major infrastructure developments have been delivered, such as the Industrial Estate link road and redoubling of the Wrexham to Chester line, I want further developments to take place. Improving rail, road and broadband connectivity will help boost the region and further establish Wrexham as the major town in North Wales.
“Local businesses are the lifeblood of the regional economy and I will seek further support to enable companies to prosper. I recognise the importance of high-paid quality jobs and have always worked closely with the private sector. The combination of improved infrastructure and increased support will make Wrexham an even more attractive place for businesses operate and grow, ultimately helping boost the Welsh economy and create more jobs and opportunities for local people.
“Having previously worked in the Wrexham Maelor Hospital for 20 years, I know how passionate people feel towards our NHS, and I will always do all I can to protect the health service and ensure people in Wrexham receive the best possible care.
“In recent years, millions of pounds of Welsh Labour Government funding have been invested into primary and secondary schools across Wrexham. I have a close relationship with schools across the constituency and will continue to work together to help set high standards so local children receive the best education and start in life.
“Having assisted and advised thousands of constituents who have contacted me over the years, I have always stood up for Wrexham and will continue to do so.”
In a statement issued this evening it was confirmed that the Conservative Candidate is Mr Atkinson: “Local man Andrew Atkinson who stood for Parliament in May was selected this evening to stand for the Welsh Assembly next May. In May’s General Election, Andrew moved the Conservatives from third to second place, halving the Labour majority in the process. Wrexham is now the most marginal seat in Wales not held by the Conservatives and the party are giving their full support to Mr Atkinson.”
Chairman of the local party Dick Wishart said: “In May Andrew polled 10350 votes and Labours incumbent Assembly Member was last elected with only 8368 votes. Andrew is a phenomenal candidate and this is clearly all to play for. He would be fantastic for Wrexham.”
Speaking tonight Andrew said: “I’m honoured to be selected to carry on my work for Wrexham. I am still working to improve our town centre, mobile phone coverage and more; but I relish the opportunity to stand up for local people on big issues such as the Welsh NHS, education, local government re-organisation, the North/south divide and more. We need change in Wales and change and action for Wrexham and I hope I get that chance.”
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies added: “Andrew has been a superb local champion and has listened to local residents in an area where Labour have simply taken people for granted. His excellent performance at May’s General Election reflected his standing and positive contribution in the community and I’m delighted that he is to continue this work heading into next May’s hugely important Assembly Election. The only way to deliver change to this tired Labour Government is by voting for Andrew and the Welsh Conservatives.”
Plaid Cymru’s Carrie Harper is hitting the election trail for next year, and has said: “The Welsh election in 2016 is a huge opportunity for the people of Wrexham and Wales to finally have a say in the future of our communities.
“In the light of political events recently across the UK, it’s clear that people want a new start and a change from the same old tired and discredited London parties. Events in Scotland leading to our sister party the SNP having a large majority has given the people of Scotland a stronger voice than they’ve ever had before.
“The Labour party is thoroughly discredited and in freefall. In Westminster we have a weak Tory Government intent on more austerity. In the upcoming Welsh election we the people of Wrecsam and the whole of Wales will have the chance to reject more of the same Labour and Tory establishment parties who have failed to represent us for generations, and instead have represented big buisiness, the bankers and the elite. The people of Wales will get the chance to vote for Plaid and get the representation that our communities deserve.
“The Assembly elections in 2016 are a chance for the people of Wales to have a say about they type of society we want to live in. It’s a chance to voice our views about what our needs and aspirations are. It’s time for us to throw our political hat in the ring.
“Do you want your children to grow up in communities where food banks, benefit sanctions and tax cuts for the rich are the norm? No? Then don’t vote Tory. Labour turned their back on ordinary people many moons ago. They’re bereft of idea’s, full of complacency and now offer little more than Tory lite as an opposition.
“Plaid Cymru is the way forward for Wales. Scotland gets what Scotland wants because they’ve voted for their national party. We can do the same here and ensure Wales is heard.
“Plaid are the only party offering a positive vision for Wales based on a Welsh perspective. We believe there is a better way forward, we can stand on our own two feet, we can build a more equal society and we can create a stronger economy.
“The question for the people of Wrecsam in this next election is, do you want an AM for Wrecsam who will tow party line from London, or someone who will will always put the interest and needs of our communities in Wales first?”
Last time around there was also a Liberal Democrat candidate, and this time Wrexham could see a UKIP candidate entering the fray however at the time of writing we are unaware of who they could be.
Clwyd South covers part of the Wrexham area, and we will hope to bring further information as and when we are made aware of it!
North Wales has nine constituencies, but also elects a further four additional members to try an enable a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.
The Welsh Assembly elections will take place on 5th May 2016 – so expect to see a lot more of these (and future declared candidates!) over the next few months.