Mid & South Pembrokeshire / Canol a de Sir Benfro: Why I’m Standing

I’m Paul Mason – and I am standing to be Labour’s candidate for Mid & South Pembrokeshire / Canol a de Sir Benfro in the next General Election.

I was born in Lancashire, to a family that had been tailors and miners for generations. I was the first person in my family to go to university, where I joined the Labour Party in 1979.

Since then, I’ve spent my life fighting for social justice: as a Labour activist, a trade unionist and a journalist – holding the powerful to account, and giving voice to the powerless.

I’m standing for selection in Mid & South Pembrokeshire because I think I can make a difference here. I will use my high profile and campaigning skills to build the broad coalition of voters needed to take the seat from the Tories, and represent the unique interests of people in south-west Wales.

My links with Pembrokeshire go back to the mid-1990s: I love the place and the people. I live in London but since going freelance in 2016 – apart from during lockdown – I’ve lived and worked here for about three months of every year. If selected I will make my home here immediately and start campaigning.

The Challenge

Pembrokeshire is coming under stress from every angle: climate change, Brexit, housing shortages and the cost-of-living crisis are all impacting life here massively. Pressures on the NHS are acute, despite the efforts of the Labour government in Cardiff.

So I want to convince voters in Pembrokeshire that it’s time for a change. Whatever the polls say, winning here won’t be easy, especially once the boundaries are redrawn.

If Labour wins the next election, Pembrokeshire will need a strong Labour voice to speak up for the interests of its people. I know how to fight for the investment needed – in emergency services, affordable homes for local people and better transport links. If the Celtic Freeport plan gets approval, I will fight to make sure it benefits the wider economy, under local democratic control.

With prices soaring – and real wages in the public sector falling behind, I will always stand with workers on strike. And I will never vote for cuts to public services.

Labour can win in South West Wales

Today Labour is ahead in UK-wide polls because we have strategy for real change: radical on the economy and climate change, while sticking to traditional Labour values on crime, foreign policy and defence.

I know how to deliver that strategy because I helped shape it. After the defeat of 2019 I was in at the start of Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign. For the past two years I’ve given policy advice to Labour’s shadow defence team. And I appear regularly on TV and radio promoting Labour’s policies and values.

I’m a lifelong coalition-builder: I was proud to stand in Kyiv, with Senedd members from Labour and Plaid Cymru, on the eve of the Russian invasion, showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people. In the fight for proportional representation, I’ve worked with senior politicians from Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

The bottom line is: we have to win here. There’s no route to a Labour government without that. That means convincing people who voted Tory last time to vote Labour. It means listening and responding to people’s concerns. And that’s been my job for nearly 30 years.

With my campaign experience, media skills and commitment to building an alliance of progressive voters, I hope I can create the majority we need. I’ll keep an open door to voters of all parties and none.

What’s happening with the boundary change?

In in July 2023 the Boundary Commission for Wales will create a new constituency, Mid & South Pembrokeshire (Canol a de Sir Benfro), stretching from Tenby to St David’s. That will change the electoral dynamics but, with the right candidate and campaign – as this survey shows – Labour can win.

Can you help?

If I get on the longlist I need nominations in order to be shortlisted: from Labour Party branches in both the existing constituencies, or trade unions and socialist societies affiliated to the party. I also need personal endorsements from Labour members in Pembrokeshire, and across Wales, and voters – so if you can help, please get in touch.

If you want to help my campaign, or have any questions, please fill in the form below. Solidarity and good luck to all the other candidates.