THE constituency of Clwyd West was created in 1997 from parts of the seats of Clwyd South West and Clwyd North West.
It has an electorate of over 58,000 and covers areas of Conwy and Denbighshire including Colwyn Bay, Mochdre, Ruthin and Abergele. Despite being a major Labour target in the 2010 election, Conservative MP David Jones increased his majority to 6,419, a substantial rise from the 133 majority he received in 2005.
Jones will go head-to-head once again this year with Labour’s Gareth Thomas, who he ousted from the role of Clwyd West MP in 2005.
Voter turnout in Clwyd West was slightly higher than the national average of 65.1 per cent in 2010, with 65.8 per cent of those registered turning out to vote.
An announcement on the Liberal Democrat and Green Party candidates is expected withing the next few weeks.
David Jones MP (Conservative)
THE current Clwyd West MP is David Jones, who will be looking to hold onto his seat at the forthcoming election.
David was born in London to Welsh parents, and he was brought up in Rhosllanerchrugog.
He attended Ruabon Grammar School, and went on to study law at University College London and the College of Law in Chester.
Having completed his studies, David moved to Ruthin to train as a solicitor and after qualifying he set up his own legal practice in Llandudno.
David served briefly as a Member of the Welsh Assembly and was then elected MP for Clwyd West in the 2005 general election.
Upon becoming a Member of Parliament, he joined the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, and served as a committee member for the full 2005-10 Parliament.
In November 2006, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Wales.
Upon the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010, David was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales.
He held the position until September 2012, when he was appointed Secretary of State for Wales, thereby becoming a member of the Cabinet and the Privy Council.
He served as Secretary of State for two years, leaving office in July 2014.
David’s political interests include justice, Europe and the Middle East.
He is married to Sara, a former nurse, who was born and raised in Montgomeryshire.
They have two sons, and live in Rhos on Sea.
His interests include local history and travel and he is a supporter of Liverpool Football Club.
Gareth Thomas (Labour)
A FORMER Clwyd West MP has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the seat in the next election.
Gareth Thomas was previously MP for Clwyd West between 1997 and 2005, after being re-elected in 2001.
He was ousted by current MP and Secretary of State for Wales David Jones who won by a margin of 133 votes in 2005. He lives in Efenchtyd and has four children with his wife Jo.
Mr Thomas, who is a barrister and fluent Welsh speaker, said that he feels the area has been let down in recent years.
He said: “I had the honour of being the MP for Clwyd West until 2005 when I lost by 133 votes to the Conservatives. I believe I gained a good reputation as a hard working and approachable MP and I helped many people.
“This area is very dependent on public sector jobs. The Conservatives are ideologically committed to shrinking the public sector. I have no doubt that a Conservative victory will mean further big job losses locally.
“We must offer a better deal for our young people who are really struggling. This election is a choice between Labour’s vision of a fair society and economy that works for all, or a Conservative government that delivers only for the rich and privileged.”
The 60-year-old was born in Pengroes and graduated in law from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1976.
He has been a barrister in a private practice since 1986 specialising in personal injury litigation.
Warwick Nicholson (UKIP)
A FATHER of seven has been selected as the UK Independence Party candidate for Clwyd West.
Warwick Nicholson, who was also selected for the previous two general elections by UKIP, received 2.27 per cent of the vote when Conservative MP David Jones held on to his seat in 2010, an increase from 1.65 per cent in 2005.
Mr Nicholson is a former Salford resident who now lives in North Wales, and is married to Joy living out their dream running a smallholding trying their best to be as self-sufficient as possible.
They have seven children and 23 grandchildren.
He is a committed Christian and is concerned about the marginalisation of Christianity in the UK.
Mr Nicholson desperately wants honesty to return to British politics and is opposed to the destruction of the beauty of Wales by the proliferation of windfarms and believes that there are other, better sources of renewable electricity that are being virtually ignored.
Bob English (Socialist Labour Party)
A FORMER primary school teacher has been chosen as Clwyd West candidate for the Socialist Labour Party.
Bob English, aged 52, left his home town of Middlesbrough in the 1980s when it had the highest unemployment rate in mainland Britain, and was also the biggest recruiting area for the British army.
Bob went on to take a first class Honours degree in English from Stirling University, before working as a Welfare Rights worker in London and the North East of England.
He has been a Wales resident since 1991.
After gaining a PGCE qualification and a period as a primary school teacher, he has worked as a driver with Royal Mail for eight years.
He is currently Vice-President of the Welsh Socialist Labour Party, and is also active within the Communication Workers Union.
Bob lives in Llanarmon-yn-Ial with his wife Denise, a playwright. He plays wooden flute in his spare time, and has been known to associate with Morris dancers.
He believes that the important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.
Marc Jones (Plaid Cymru)
A FORMER journalist will run for the Clwyd West seat at next year’s General Election.
Marc Jones is a former BBC journalist who has been chosen to contest Clwyd West in the General Election by Plaid Cymru.
He has worked as a producer for the Week In Week Out investigative current affairs programme on BBC Wales as well as HTV and local newspapers including the Daily Post.
He said: "All the London parties have failed Wales and its people with an agenda that rewards bankers and billionaires while punishing the rest of us.
"My priorities are investing in a stronger economy, including a Living Wage for all and greater rate relief for small and medium businesses; maintaining public services and improving our NHS. The downgrading of services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is completely unacceptable.
“The next election is a chance for people to have their say about the way Wales is run and for whose benefit.
“That’s why we need a stronger voice for Clwyd West, to ensure we have decent housing that first-time buyers can afford; better-paid work and services.
“Communities in this constituency are facing real challenges and I will do my utmost to help with regenerating and reviving places like Colwyn Bay and Abergele.”
Marc is a founding member of the North Wales Health Alliance, which has campaigned for better community health services over the past few years.
He is the father of two teenage sons, works in Ruthin and in his spare time chairs a community cooperative pub venture and is a trustee of a mental health charity.
Sarah Lesister-Burgess (Liberal Democrat)
A Liberal Democrat candidate has been chosen for Clwyd West.
Employment law specialist and community councillor Sarah Lesiter-Burgess, said: “I firmly believe in fairness and equality, the Liberal Democrats are rebuilding Britain’s economy to offer opportunity for all. My motto is: the sun only rises for those who set out to meet it.
“I think the best thing we can do for our children is to give them a good education to equip them for the skilled jobs that local employers struggle to fill.
“That’s why I welcome the Pupil Deprivation Grant secured by our AM’s in Wales, like the pupil premium in England the extra money for schools will boost the chances of the children that need it most.”
In 2004 Mrs Lesiter-Burgess established a HR/employment law company which provides bespoke employment law advice and support to employees and SME’s across North and Mid Wales.
Rory Jepson (Above and Beyond)
RORY Jepson will stand as the Above and Beyond Party candidate for Clwyd West.
Mr Jepson, 22, is a former bar manager from Gellifor, near Ruthin, who describes himself as a keen environmentalist.
He said his main hopes for the campaign are to spread the message that the status quo is not the only way to run a country, and to provide a constructive alternative to what he calls an ‘outdated system’.
Mr Jepson said: “I think our current political system is financially driven, often at the expense of those who the system should serve.
“I believe that given the opportunity to vote in a referendum on our system of governance, many people would agree reform is necessary.
“Our fossil-fuel based economy is also unsustainable as the resources are limited, and due to interests of large energy companies the renewable energy sector is not being fully invested in.
“Also military intervention in the interests of fuel is not what many people want their taxes spent on.
“It is quite a big rural area but I know there is a lot of disquiet about how we are run and there is a lot of people in North Wales who know we need some major changes.”
See full story in the Free Press