THE owner of an independent business will stand to be Bridgwater's MP at the next general election.

Pele Barnes, 30, was born and raised in the town and says he will be a “true local representative of working people” if he is elected.

He plans to stand as a candidate for the Somerset Unionist Party, which he founded and campaigns under on social media.

However, he will put himself forward as an independent candidate if a vote is called before the party is registered by the Electoral Commission.

The next general election must be held by January 28, 2025.

It has already been confirmed that Bridgwater will have a new representative in the House of Commons after the next election.

Bridgwater Mercury: Mr Barnes says he “would be a true local representative working people”.Mr Barnes says he “would be a true local representative working people”. (Image: Pele Barnes)

That is because the current MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, will stand for the newly created Tiverton and Minehead seat following a set of boundary changes.

Under the changes, the next Bridgwater MP will have a new-look constituency that includes Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge, but loses the Hinkley Point C nuclear construction site.

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have already confirmed their candidates: Sir Ashley Fox, a former solicitor who now runs a consultancy firm, and Claire Sully, a Somerset councillor for the Mendip South division.

Labour is also confident it can win in Bridgwater – but Mr Barnes believes locals should not vote for the major parties.

“I come from working background, born and raised in Bridgwater,” he said.

“I have had a range of experiences, from working at Royal Mail, in sales, as a baker, as a shop worker, in construction and volunteering as a teachers' assistant.

“I now run my own business selling cheese and deli items, named Gouda Karma Ltd, working in markets across Somerset.

“I have a passion for helping my local community, believing we all deserve better than what any political party has to offer.”

Among his policies, he said he will fight to:

  • “Bring small businesses back to the high streets against greedy landlords”
  • Overhaul animal rights to set a modern-day standard and protect wildlife, particularly endangered species
  • Close the gap between the richest and poorest in society with “real changes to wages, bonuses and landlord reforms to protect low-income families”.

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