Obituary: Plaid Cymru AM Steffan Lewis

Steffan Lewis

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Steffan Lewis represented South Wales East within the National Assembly since his election in 2016

The death of Steffan Lewis on the age of 34 brings a tragic finish to the promising profession of a politician lengthy tipped as a future chief of his social gathering.

In his quick time as a Plaid Cymru meeting member, he had a giant impact on Welsh politics, significantly within the Welsh Government’s method to Brexit.

The father-of-one was identified with terminal cancer in late 2017 however refused to permit his sickness to stop his work.

A politician who was well-liked throughout the meeting, Mr Lewis leaves behind his wife, Shona, and a younger son, Celyn.

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Plaid Cymru

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Steffan Lewis with Plaid Cymru colleagues in October 2018

Brought up in Crosskeys and Tredegar, he turned Wales’ youngest meeting member in 2016 when he was elected to serve the area of South Wales East.

But the fluent-Welsh speaker’s journey into politics started at a a lot youthful age.

Born to folks who had been each members of Plaid Cymru, Mr Lewis went to a main college in Swffryd in Blaenau Gwent.

He later moved to the Welsh-medium main college Ysgol Gymraeg Cwm Gwyddon in Abercarn, and later attended Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool.

Young politician

The Islwyn by-election of 1995, triggered when former Labour chief Neil Kinnock stood down as an MP, was when he “actually began to get excited by politics and excited by political campaigning”.

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Plaid Cymru

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Budding politician: Steffan addressed the 1997 Plaid Cymru convention in Aberystwyth

It was round that point that the younger activist went to his first Plaid Cymru department assembly – and he addressed a celebration convention in 1997.

The Blaenau Gwent Westminster by-election in 2006 noticed Mr Lewis, who’s from Blackwood within the Gwent Valleys, stand as a candidate for the first time.

The Celtic soccer fan got here third, nevertheless it spurred him on to stepping into politics full-time – and some months later he started working for Plaid Cymru within the meeting.

His work behind the scenes noticed him function Leanne Wood’s speechwriter throughout her management.

Following the retirement of Jocelyn Davies, Mr Lewis was chosen to be high of the Plaid Cymru listing for his home area of South Wales East – and secured victory within the 2016 election.

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Steffan Lewis

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Steffan Lewis, pictured at round six years outdated, went to a main college in Swffryd in Blaenau Gwent

Mr Lewis’ mom was a social employee whereas his late father was a former retail employee, however earlier generations of his household had been coal-miners.

“I’m just the second era of Lewises to not go underground,” he instructed BBC Wales in 2017.

‘Made his mark’

Following his election, Mr Lewis made his mark within the meeting because the Brexit spokesman for Plaid Cymru.

He had a significant position within the joint Labour-Plaid policy on leaving the EU, printed at the start of 2017.

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Steffan Lewis’s sister Nia (left) organised a charity stroll in honour of his 34th birthday

While a row brewed between the Welsh and UK governments over the impact on devolution of Brexit laws, Mr Lewis referred to as for ministers to guard the meeting’s pursuits by making certain EU regulation is preserved in Welsh regulation.

A senior Labour cupboard minister on the time stated that Mr Lewis was the first AM to place the concept on the desk.

A Continuity Act was ultimately handed as emergency laws. It by no means got here into power, abolished after ministers on each ends of the M4 reached a deal, nevertheless it had been a key a part of the government’s negotiating technique.

The act was handed months after Mr Lewis had been identified following a CT scan in Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital, which revealed his cancer was at a sophisticated stage.

Members of the meeting and MPs rallied across the AM – taking half in a charity stroll organised by Mr Lewis’ sister Nia to lift money for the Velindre cancer hospital in Cardiff.

‘It’s okay to be scared’

Mr Lewis spoke emotionally about his expertise of residing with stage-four bowel cancer in media interviews after his analysis.

“I recognize the actual fact there are 2,000-odd folks in Wales with bowel cancer each year and about 5% of these are youthful folks, so numerically we’re small,” he stated.

“But nonetheless I believe we have to discuss in regards to the emotional palette that we’ve once we are going by way of one thing as profound and as scary as cancer.

“It’s nearly like validating our personal feelings and our personal emotions – that it is okay to be a younger man and to be scared and to permit your self to discover that, to rationalise it and to speak about it brazenly.”

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