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I’m standing to be an MEP because I’m sick of politicians frustrating the Brexit process

European Elections 2019: meet the candidates in this month’s fractious vote

James Wells
Thursday 23 May 2019 10:23 BST
Brexit Party chairman admits they receive foreign donations

I have lived in Wales for the past 12 years with my wife and two children who were both born in the country. I love the Welsh people and its countryside where I spend a lot of my spare time mountain biking around the hills and valleys. My attachment to the country and my experience of seeing Brexit being frustrated is why I'm standing as a Brexit Party MEP candidate for the area.

For the past six years I have worked on producing key economic indicators at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in Newport and for the past 18 months I have been head of UK trade, helping to deliver a multi-million-pound transformation of the government’s official trade statistics.

I haven’t always had a good job. I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until later in life and so I left school at 16 with virtually no qualifications. I then spent the next 12 years doing various low-skilled work, until at the age of 28 I decided to return to full-time education. After much hard work I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in psychology, which I later followed up with a master’s degree in psychology from Cranfield University.

The ONS has done a fantastic job of improving UK trade statistics to support the Department for International Trade and the Department for Exiting the European Union as we leave the EU. So it has pained me greatly to watch so many MPs do everything they can to frustrate the referendum result.

I have never taken part in any kind of protest before, but feeling frustrated, I joined the March to Leave six weeks ago to vent my anger. I met and talked with some amazing people who are passionate about Brexit, such as Tim Martin who owns Wetherspoon’s, the Conservative MP Esther McVey and Richard Tice, who is now chairman of the Brexit Party.

Some of the people on the march had walked 300 miles, from Sunderland to London, because they were also frustrated and angry. My experience on the march made me to want to do more to stand up to those MPs and say enough is enough.

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So, three weeks ago I resigned from the ONS with immediate effect to stand. Like England, Wales voted to leave the European Union and it is not good enough for politicians in Westminster to simply ignore this after voting overwhelmingly to put the decision to the people.

I have never been politically active or had any inclination to enter politics. I joined the Conservative Party a year ago so that I could vote in a leadership contest if one was called, but I never attended any meetings or supported any campaigns.

I have watched in despair as Conservative MPs have failed to remove Theresa May each time they had the opportunity. Our prime minister spent two years negotiating a deal that pleases no one and it is astonishing that some in the Conservative Party would see their party destroyed rather than remove May and honour the referendum result.

Two weeks ago, I shared a stage with Ann Widdecombe and Nigel Farage at a rally in Newport, and this week I spoke at a rally in Merthyr Tydfil. I have been campaigning across Wales to a fantastic reception. It is amazing to think that this is a Labour heartland, yet more and more people are deciding they will support the Brexit Party next Thursday.

Like many, I believe our two-party political system is broken and that this is our opportunity to change it. I have no idea where my decision to resign will take me, but I have been on many journeys in my life and I will give everything I can to ensure that the democratic mandate from 2016’s referendum result is honoured.

James Wells is a Brexit Party MEP candidate for Wales

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