Local MP David TC Davies has been unanimously selected by the Monmouthshire Selection Council of the Conservative Party to stand at the next general election as the Conservative candidate for the Monmouthshire constituency.
Mr Davies currently sits in Cabinet as the Secretary of State for Wales. He is a Welsh speaker who lives in Monmouth with his wife and three children and has been the area’s MP for the last 17 years. It is likely that at the next election the boundaries of the seat will change slightly and will be renamed the Monmouthshire constituency.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Davies said: “I am hugely honoured to have had the support of the Monmouth Conservative Association to stand again as the candidate. I have always lived in Monmouth, and although the job means being in London for a lot of the time, I am always back every week to visit businesses and other organisations, to attend local events and of course to hold advice surgeries with constituents.
The last few years have been very challenging for the Government with the Covid pandemic then the war in Ukraine which has pushed up inflation and energy prices having an impact on householders and businesses. As a UK Government Minister, I have always strongly emphasised the need to do what we can to help the least well off and I was pleased with the recent rise in pensions benefits and the minimum wage in line with inflation as well as the energy guarantee which is limiting the impact of energy prices rises.
Locally, I would like to see Monmouthshire County Council using their influence with Welsh Government to prevent the proposed revaluation of Council Taxes which is likely to be hugely costly to homeowners here. We also need to get the Welsh Government to lift its ban on new roads so that we can sort out the issue of traffic congestion in Chepstow.
Monmouthshire is a wonderful place to live, and I will continue to work hard between now and the election to demonstrate my absolute commitment to the constituency.”
Nick Hacket Pain, Chairman of the local association said: “It has been a pleasure to work with David for the last the last 20 years. As Secretary of State for Wales, he is the ideal person to hold the Welsh Government to account for their failures over waiting lists and educational standards, and also a lack of road building.
We are all looking forward to going out and campaigning for David in the New Year.”
Standing against Mr Davies for Labour will be Monmouthshire County Councillor, Catherine Fookes who, if elected, would become the Monmouth constituency’s first female MP.
Cllr Fookes is currently the council cabinet member with responsibility for equalities and engagement on the Labour run authority and performs the role on a job share basis with another councillor. She is also the chief executive of equalities charity, Women’s Equality Network Wales, and chair of Fabians Cymru, the Welsh arm of the “left leaning think tank”.
Party members backed Ms Fookes at a selection meeting in Monmouth on Sunday.
Ms Fookes took 70 per cent of first round votes, with three other candidates – Sally Ashby, a Chepstow town councillor; Penarth mayor Laura Rochefort and London Haringey councillor Emily Arkell having been shortlisted.
Ms Fookes, a mother of two who has lived in Monmouth for 20 years, having grown up in Dorset and studied French and business studies at university, said: “I’m really delighted to have won and had really good support from the members.”
Ms Fookes was elected as the town ward councillor, on the county council, for the first time at May’s local government elections when Labour seized power from the Conservatives at County Hall, winning four more seats than the Tories.
She also stood for Labour in the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections, coming second with 8,438 votes with the Conservatives retaining the seat with a 5,147 majority
Labour hasn’t won the Monmouth Parliamentary constituency since 2001, with former MP Huw Edwards defeated by Mr Davies in 2005.
The MP, who was appointed Welsh Secretary when Rishi Sunak became prime minister in October, currently has a majority of 9,982.
A date is yet to be set for the next General Election, which must be held by January 2025.