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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 19:17 GMT
Bevan's relative to fight as Tory
Aneurin Bevan and Thomas Goodhead
Thomas Goodhead says his Tory policies are similar to Bevan's
A relative of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan will fight his old seat as a Tory in next year's Welsh assembly election.

Great-great-nephew Thomas Goodhead, 24, an Oxford law student, will be Blaenau Gwent Conservative candidate in May.

Bevan, who is revered by Labour as the founder of the National Health Service, held the south Wales valley seat - then called Ebbw Vale - from 1929 to 1960.

While Bevan famously said Tories were "lower than vermin," his descendant said their policies had much in common.

Mr Goodhead, who is from Rogerstone, near Newport, said: "I'm standing very much on platforms he would have been concerned with, such as social justice and economic regeneration and access to health services in the valleys

It is clear that the founding principles my great-great-uncle fought for when he set up the National Health Service are not being upheld by the people who claim to champion his legacy
Thomas Goodhead, Blaenau Gwent Conservative candidate
"None of which I think are inconsistent with any of his philosophies whatsoever, so I don't think I'm so much dancing on the grave as taking up his legacy."

Blaenau Gwent has become a major political battleground in recent years. It was Labour's safest constituency in Wales until becoming the scene of a bitter struggle over Labour imposed all-women shortlists to pick its next Westminster candidate.

Labour used to hold the seat in both Westminster and Cardiff Bay. But local Assembly Member Peter Law defected from the party and became an independent over the shortlist row.

He then stood against Labour at the 2005 Westminster election, becoming independent MP as well as AM.

Aneurin Bevan
Bevan held the valleys seat at Westminster for forty years

Mr Law died within a year, but in the subsequent by-election his widow Trish and election agent Dai Davies retained both seats as independents.

Mr Goodhead's maternal great-great-grandfather was Bevan's brother. His mother's maiden name was Bevan.

'Red tape'

He said: "It is clear that the founding principles my great-great-uncle fought for when he set up the National Health Service are not being upheld by the people who claim to champion his legacy.

"Labour has betrayed those principles and created a service which is stagnating, over-burdened with red tape, and where patients are being denied choice on how, where and when they are treated.

The student said he was looking forward to finding out people's reception to him in Blaenau Gwent in the next six months' campaigning.

He said he was "very much looking forward to the challenge" of electioneering in a traditionally socialist constituency.

So far he said he had received nothing but positive comments when his family connection was revealed.

"Aneurin Bevan's one of those people who had some harsh words to say about the Conservative Party but spent a good proportion of the Second World War advocating for Churchill's leadership.

"So he's someone who cuts across partisan lines in politics and commands universal respect ."




SEE ALSO
New life hope for NHS birthplace
07 Nov 06 |  South East Wales
Bevan is ultimate Welsh hero
01 Mar 04 |  Wales
Aneurin Bevan - Labour's lost leader
01 Jul 98 |  Special report

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