nathan edmunds
Nathan Edmunds

THE Conservatives have unveiled the man who will challenge one of Keir Starmer’s top team to represent a Gwent seat.

Electrical design engineer Nathan Edmunds, from Cwmbran, has been selected as the Welsh Conservative candidate for the Torfaen constituency at the next UK general election which is expected to be held next year.

The seat is held by Nick Thomas-Symonds, who is the shadow minister without portfolio in the Labour shadow cabinet, who has served in a number of front bench roles under Sir Keir and predecessor Jeremy Corbyn since he was first elected in 2015.

Challenger Mr Edmunds, who works in renewable energy and has designed windfarms and now works on new energy storage projects. He volunteers with Torfaen’s Climate Ambassadors Network, a borough council energy saving project. The married father of three’s ambition is to represent Torfaen in Parliament and though the seat was previously held by former Labour cabinet minister Paul Murphy for 28 years, and before him campaigning Labour MP Leo Abse, he doesn’t believe overturning a 3,742 majority from 2019 is impossible.

Under proposals expected to be confirmed by Parliament to redraw the electoral map Torfaen will expand to include parts of Croesyceiliog and Llanyarfon, which are in Torfaen borough, but currently form part of the Conservative-held Monmouth constituency.

He said: “I’m not writing off my chance it will be extremely difficult, it’s not like it’s a seat that’s previously been Conservative and we are trying to win it back, it’s never been Conservative, but the majority is 3,500 something so it’s not a complete write-off, there is a chance, a small chance. It’s not something I’m expected to win but it does give me a bit of a chance.”

The 47-year-old has identified the cost-of-living as a priority and while he accepts opinion polls show Labour are likely to replace the Conservatives in power he intends to fight on Labour’s record in the Welsh Government and locally at borough council level.

“I think it is difficult nationally but slightly different here in Wales with a lot of people upset with the Senedd and the 20 mile per hour limit and the council tax reform. There’s a lot of people upset with Cardiff. I will fight for every vote, I’m not expecting to sweep into power here in Torfaen, but I’m not going to just not do anything and sit still. I hope to change that Labour mindset in the area.”

Though Mr Thomas-Symonds may be expected to fill a senior role should Labour take power at Westminster Mr Edmunds said he would be able to spend “every minute in Torfaen”.