The Welsh Liberal Democrats have selected mental health and voting rights campaigner Samuel Ellis Rees as their candidate in the 2015 General Election for Blaenau Gwent.
Samuel, at the age of 24 is one of the youngest candidates contesting the General Election in Wales. Born and raised in South Wales, he attended Swansea University before spending a year in Glasgow campaigning with Better Together to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom.
Now a mental health and voting rights campaigner, Samuel has lobbied the Welsh Assembly to reform mental health treatments for young people after recent figures showed that of everyone waiting over 18 weeks to begin treatment for a mental disorder, 96% of them are under the age of 18. He is also keen on reforming voting rights and is calling for the voting age to be reduced to 16.
After his selection, Samuel Ellis Rees said:
“I am delighted to have been selected as the candidate for Blaenau Gwent. This election campaign will help highlight the issues facing not just Blaenau Gwent, but the whole of Wales.
“With mental health problems hitting my own family hard, I was disgusted to see that each year hundreds of children and young people wait months for mental health treatments, with hundreds even waiting over 40 weeks. The Liberal Democrats are the only party taking the issue of mental health reform seriously by calling for the introduction of mental health waiting times and additional funding for services and I want to help achieve this in Westminster.
“Lowering the voting age is also an issue close to my heart. The reason I first joined the Liberal Democrats was their commitment to lowering the voting age. I am a firm believer that if you are allowed to enlist in your countries army at 16, then you should be able to vote for your country at 16. This is a cause I am passionate about and wish to see become law as soon as possible”.