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Gareth Thomas selected as Labour candidate

31/07/13

Gareth Thomas 2

Bar Wars! Barrister confirms rematch with solicitor for North Wales MP's seat

Atlantic Chambers' Gareth Thomas is making a political comeback to fight for the parliamentary seat he lost in 2005.

Mr Thomas, who lost his Clwyd West seat at the general election in 2005 has been selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for the next election, likely to be in 2015.

The current incumbent, Welsh Secretary David Jones, a qualified solicitor, beat him eight years ago by 133 votes.

Mr Thomas, 58, lives in Ruthin with wife Jo and four children. He was born in the Lynn Peninsula before moving, aged four, with his family to Birkenhead following his father landing a job as a tool maker at Cammel Laird ship yard. Mr Thomas attended Rock Ferry High School and then studied law at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, being called to the bar in 1977.

After his selection he said: "Since my defeat I have been concentrating on my legal career, but I like many have been angered by this government's incompetence, irresponsibility and mismanagement of the economy.

"This, and the damage done to access to justice by recent changes was a big factor in my decision to stand again."

In his previous term as MP, Mr Thomas was one of the first members of the joint human rights committee. He served as a member of the Social Security Select Committee and was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Wales and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

He admits it will be a close contest with David Jones, who extended his majority to more than 6,000 in 2010, but he vows that if he were to win the vote he will make an increased interest in the legal affairs of this country to aid the most vulnerable members of society.

He said:  "Very sadly the legal profession appears to have few friends in the House of Commons. Many people seem to think that lawyers are just another powerful trade union out for their own ends.

"I feel there are not enough people speaking up in Parliament on the issue of access to justice and I would want to be a champion for those who need to have better representation and legal advice at all levels."

As a barrister Mr Thomas specialises in personal injury, employment law and family work from Atlantic Chambers' offices in Cook Street and often conducts cases in Welsh in Clwyd West where 30 per cent of the population speak the language. He also undertakes pro bono work for the Northern Circuit Free Representation and Advice Service.