Back to Westminster: My Week 8th – 14th January
In the Chamber
On Monday I was in the Chamber as PPS to the Justice Team for Andy Slaughter’s Urgent Question to Michael Gove over the safety of prisons and training centres. Andy raised the issue of allegations of mistreatment of children in custody revealed by the BBC’s Panorama programme. Andy also asked Gove over his concerns about the wider context of a rise of violence in prisons after shocking statistics that showed that over the last two years, on average, a prisoner has taken their own life every four days. I agree with Andy that, ‘we need a cultural shift across the entire secure estate’.
On Wednesday I bobbed at Welsh Questions and asked Stephen Crabb, ‘Local businesses across Wales are eagerly anticipating the investment that the tidal lagoon will bring. It would be a travesty if the UK Government were to pull the plug on the lagoon, so can the Minister confirm that they remain committed to the project and to agreeing a strike price for the tidal lagoon.’ Mr Crabb, clawing for a good response, said that the decision is taking so long because there needs to be ‘due diligence’. Later in the day Cameron said that his enthusiasm for the project is ‘cooling’ as opposed to Crabb’s response that the tidal lagoon is a ‘very exciting and significant project’. Perhaps the two need a meal in the Grape & Olive to discuss their approach to the tidal lagoon!
I stayed in the Chamber after Welsh Questions to attend Prime Minister’s Questions to watch Cameron repeatedly try to slam the door in Jeremy Corbyn’s face over the issue of social housing and the Prime Minister’s plans to bulldoze and then rebuild them.
I was in the Chamber once again as PPS on Thursday morning to support the Shadow Law Officer Team at Attorney General’s Questions.
Out and about around the constituency
On Friday I visited the Calor Gas depot in Aberdulais, to discover how the company has been preparing for winter and how it intends to keep its customers warm during these upcoming cold winter months. I was very interested to hear about how testing the last few years have been for Calor and the problems they have had in delivering products to their customers due to the bad weather. Calor and its 100 employees have been working hard in the constituency for decades and are essential for those who are not connected to a main gas supply.
On Saturday I was looking forward to watching the rugby, however the weather rained it off. Luckily, it gave me the chance to celebrate the birthday of one of Neath’s finest, Dean Cawsey. He may be older, but he still loves his cake just as much! It was also the birthday of Neath legend Ali Thomas, who unfortunately couldn’t make dinner in Moruzzi’s, but we all celebrated in his absence.
Weekdays in Westminster
On Tuesday I attended a reception hosted by Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Labour MP for Torfaen, for the HERE organisation which provides a website and phone support service for people with long term health conditions and their carers.
On Wednesday I attended an event organised by the Royal Mencap Society, along with various other organisations such as the Disability Benefits Consortium, who supported a 100 disabled people to come to Parliament to talk about their concerns over the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. It was fascinating to hear first-hand the knock on effects of the Bill, and shows the truth behind the Government’s claim that they are the party who protect those most vulnerable in society.
On Wednesday afternoon I attended an event held by Andy Slaughter to discuss the possibility of extending civil partnerships to different sex couples ahead of a judicial review on the matter on the 19th January.
This week I also introduced a Statutory Instrument to amend the Legal Services Act 2007 (Claims Management Complaints) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2016.