Conservative hopeful for the new Westminster seat of Ceredigion Preseli has officially launched his campaign, saying he will “bring a sense of hope and ambition back into politics”.

The new Ceredigion Preseli constituency joins parts of north Pembrokeshire – including Crymych and Maenclochog – with neighbouring Ceredigion.

The new constituency takes effect automatically from the next scheduled General Election, following a Westminster vote to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32.

Candidates announced so far are Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake – who has represented Ceredigion in Westminster since 2017, Liberal Democrat Mark Williams, formerly the MP for Ceredigion from 2005- 2017, and Welsh Labour’s Jackie Jones.

The Welsh Conservatives recently selected their candidate for the Ceredigion-Preseli seat, Cllr Aled Thomas, Welsh Conservative Group county councillor for Johnston.

The launch event was held at the Moody Cow Farm Shop and Cafe in Llwyncelyn, near Aberaeron, where Mr Thomas told local members and supporters that he’s hoping to “bring a sense of hope and ambition back into politics”.

Mr Thomas, Welsh Conservative Group spokesman for finance, agriculture and the Welsh Language on Pembrokeshire County Council, is also a qualified agronomist and a partner in his family’s arable and livestock farm.

“It’s an honour to be able to represent the Ceredigion Preseli constituency at the next general election, and area that I hold dear to my heart.”

He added: “The people of Ceredigion deserve better, as Plaid Cymru, a party I once respected has now prioritised propping up Welsh Labour in the Senedd over the priorities of the people of Ceredigion.

“They have happily enabled them to introduce damaging policies such as the Sustainable Farming Scheme to the rural communities and businesses across Wales.

“I’m not afraid to speak up for the people of Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire and make sure their voices are heard loud and clear on a council, Wales and national level.”

Western Telegraph: Aled Thomas (lower left) joins Ceredigion Preseli Westminster seat hopefuls Mark Williams, Jackie

Fellow hopefuls for the seat have previously outlined what they intend to bring to the table.

Western Telegraph: Ben Lake MP

Ben Lake said: “My priorities were I to be elected as the Member of Parliament for Ceredigion Preseli are clear – a fair deal for rural communities, investment in infrastructure and increased funding for public services, and a thriving, sustainable economy that has the needs of communities rather than those of large corporations as its focus.”

Western Telegraph:

Liberal Democrat Mark Williams said: “I too am looking forward to putting forward my party’s message on the doorsteps of Preseli, and across Ceredigion, not least our measures to help people with the cost-of-living crisis, and promote the agricultural sector. There is a battle for hearts and minds across our new constituency, and I believe I have the energy and experience to win it.”

Western Telegraph: Ceredigion Preseli hopeful Jackie Jones. Picture: Jackie Jones.

Welsh Labour’s Jackie Jones said: “We desperately need a Labour government in Westminster and a strong voice for Ceredigion Preseli. After 13 years of the Tories’ mismanagement of the economy, prevalent corruption and neglect we’re all dealing with the cost of food in our shops up, the cost of fuel up and energy prices still sky-high.”

The new constituency has the unusual situation of part of it currently occupied, to the north, by Plaid Cymru, and, to the south, part of the current Conservative-held Preseli Pembrokeshire.

The latter seat, occupied by Tory MP Stephen Crabb, is to disappear; Mr Crabb standing in the adjoining new seat of Mid and South Pembrokeshire.