My Week: 26th February – 3rd March
In the Chamber
On the evening of Monday the 29th I spoke in a backbench debate on the UK steel industry. I, along with many Labour colleagues from Welsh and English constituencies, pressed the Government for more action to save the industry and to do things within the Government’s power to help the industry to survive. I demonstrated to the Government that, ‘the fact that, this year, 1050 jobs have been lost in the UK steel industry, 750 of which are in Port Talbot, shows the Government’s complete lack of action in saving the UK steel industry.’
On Thursday afternoon I spoke in the Welsh Affairs debate held to celebrate St David’s Day. I spoke about the terrific successes of the Welsh women’s rugby team and Squash Wales as well as the ongoing farce of the Government’s Draft Wales Bill. I also spoke about Wales’ relationship with the EU. I paid tribute to Derek Vaughan, our fantastic MEP, who is doing terrific work fighting for the benefits that Wales receives. I also praised Neath Port Talbot Country Borough Council, who have been expertly using EU funds to fund their Workways+ scheme, which is doing so much good work in the community to get back into work. I criticised the Government for, ‘rather than addressing the necessary reforms of the EU in a constructive manner from inside, we face the prospect of an exit, which will be a disaster for Neath and for Wales as a whole.’
Out and about around the constituency
On the 26th I visited Neath college with Derek Vaughan MEP and Cllr Alan Lockyer to workshop with students on the different levels of government – local, Assembly, national and European. We also had a workshop on democratic participation. The students had a really good time and they were very enthusiastic and engaged. The students were all eager to learn about how the different levels of government interact with each other and had many questions.
The evening of the 26th I went to a fantastic Welsh evening, organised by the great Cllr Sheila Penry. The Welsh evening coincided with the Wales v France match and there was a great atmosphere at Aberdulais Golf Range, especially when the tries started coming! The golf range served some very tasty food and a good time was had by all.
In the Castle Hotel, on the 27th I attended Derek Vaughan’s public meeting to talk about the EU referendum. Now that the date has been fixed for the referendum, it is important the public know the benefits of remaining in the EU instead of being bombarded by the fear being peddled by the Leave campaign. Derek explained the benefits to the economy and to jobs in Wales.
On Sunday 28th Wales Women played France Women at the Gnoll in the Women’s Six Nations. I went along to watch the women follow up their successful against Scotland Women with another victory against the French. The girls played exceptionally and had a nail-biting 10-8 victory. Their next match is against England Women at Twickenham on the 12th March and I wish them every luck with that.
Weekdays at Westminster
The great news was announced on the first that the National Wildlife Crime Unit is to be saved. The Unit tackles wildlife crime such as the killing of birds of prey and poaching of deer in the UK as well as the smuggling of endangered reptiles, birds and elephant ivory across the globe. The NWCU was faced with closure at the end of March but has now been granted four years’ funding.
On Thursday I attended a meeting with my colleagues from the APPG on steel to meet with the Minister for State Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, Anna Soubry, to discuss the growing crisis in the UK steel industry and after the job losses in Tata in Port Talbot and Trostre.