The past week has been an eventful one, tinged for many reasons with both sadness and regret.
We learned on Sunday of the sad passing of our friend and colleague Paul Flynn. Though Paul had been unwell for some time, the news was still a huge shock; he had for so long been part of the Welsh political landscape, it is difficult to imagine it without him. The number and nature of the tributes paid to Paul are testament to his extraordinary legacy – a loyal Labour man, a refreshingly free thinker, a genuine wit, and the staunchest of advocates for the people of Newport West. The Welsh Labour family has lost one of its own, and I am sure we are all thinking of Sam and Paul’s family.
Many of you will have also seen that some of my Parliamentary colleagues have taken the decision to leave the Labour Party. As I said to Adrian Masters on Sharp End earlier this week, I wish they had not left – and I believe that now, more than ever, that we need a united Labour Party to boot out this appalling Tory Government. But Labour cannot ignore some of the reasons that led people to make the decision to leave. Some of the anti-Semitic abuse that Luciana Berger has faced is a stain on our movement, and we must do much better at rooting out anti-Semitism wherever it raises its head – something I am committed to as Welsh Labour’s Deputy Leader.
I have campaigned for the rights of women in the criminal justice system for many years, and was delighted to secure a Westminster Hall debate on the difficult issue of women being recalled to prison. The debate was held on Wednesday, and gave me the opportunity to speak of my first-hand experiences working with such women, visiting prisons around the country including visits to mother and baby units.
It has always been clear to me that the reasons women enter the criminal justice system are multifaceted and complex, which is why I was keen to use my debate to share the new Prison Reform Trust ‘Broken Trust’ report. It examines the rising number of women being recalled to prisons and highlights the kaleidoscope of reasons why, from the lack of early intervention services to insufficient housing. While it is right that women are recalled to prison if they are at imminent risk of causing harm to the public or reoffending, we need a real debate about the huge spike in numbers. It is clear to me that this increase is absolutely not helping women break their cycle of criminality, it is not creating safer communities and most certainly not creating opportunities for the women themselves. It is time for a re-think.
Back home in Swansea, the fabulous folks at the Boss Brewery Bar are holding a charity quiz to support my Kid’s Lunch Club campaign, which provides lunches to underprivileged children in Swansea during the summer holidays. It’s only £3 to enter, and will be a huge amount of fun for a brilliant cause. Please join us at Boss Brewery Bar in Landore at 7:30pm on Thursday 28th March.
This Saturday, I’ll be joining people across Wales for the most exciting event of the day. And I’m not talking about Wales vs England, but Welsh Labour’s national campaign day. With a focus on housing, campaigners across the country will be hitting the doorsteps and street stalls – well before kick off – and I’d urge you to get involved, too. You can find details of your nearest campaign event at https://events.labour.org.uk/.
As always, if you’d like to get in touch with me to raise any issues or concerns, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling my constituency office on 01792 462054.