With Parliament in recess last week, I got to enjoy a bit of time at home with the family, as well as meeting some of the great people doing brilliant work in our area. With my fellow Welsh Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, I met Down to Earth who are tackling social inequality at the same time as looking at the challenges of sustainability. This is a fantastic project which works to create sustainable spaces where vulnerable people can learn new skills and develop existing ones to transform their lives.
In the wake of the terrible flooding that has affected much of South Wales – and the absolutely woeful response from the Prime Minister and his Government – I joined with every other Welsh Labour MP in signing a letter to the Prime Minister asking for action. Our demands were simple. Firstly, to ask him to support Welsh communities as they face the immense clean-up following Storm Dennis, and secondly to reconsider the way funding is allocated to the Welsh Government. The current system allows Ministers to allocate funding to England while ignoring Wales. This is unfair and cannot continue. My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by the flooding, who have either had their homes or their businesses flooded. I wish them all the best and hope they are back on their feet soon.
On Monday, I was very pleased to attend an adjudicators’ meeting for the British Kebab Awards as one of the judges. The BKA are a real – and delicious – chance to recognise and champion the efforts of local takeaways and restaurants across the country. Local eateries such as these make such a contribution to our communities and to the economy and we should celebrate them! The industry as a whole contributes more than £4.5 billion to the economy, with the humble kebab contributing £2.2 billion. We are lucky in the UK to have such a vibrant and varied food culture with the kebab securing its position as the nation’s favourite and I congratulate all of the restaurants recognised in these awards.
Tuesday saw the AGM for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Home Electrical Safety, which I chair. After our recent ‘call for evidence’, relating to electrical product safety, we have found huge potential for safety controls that could greatly reduce the incidence of electrical accidents. Now that the Office for Product Safety and Standards has been established, the opportunity is there for the UK Government to implement an accident and injury database. But despite it having the potential to deliver significant benefits, they are refusing to do so – and this must be explained. As we’ve seen in disasters like the one at Grenfell Tower, fires and incidents caused by electrical products can result in serious and personal tragedies which devastate families. The UK Government must begin to take electrical product safety seriously, and I will continue to push them on this front.
I also met with friends and colleagues from ITV Wales to hear about their plans to maximise audiences and create specialised content for Welsh viewers. We have some fantastic artistic and creative talent here in Wales and BBC Wales and S4C already produce truly global hits such as Doctor Who and joint Welsh and English-medium dramas like Hinterland, Hidden, and Keeping Faith. ITV Wales have already worked with Velindre and South Wales Police to produce some acclaimed documentaries, and it’s welcome that they value the talent and skills generated in Wales. I hope to see even more exciting programmes filmed and produced in Wales with Welsh teams over the coming months and years.
On Wednesday, I hit the phones for Keir Starmer’s campaign for the Labour leadership. It was great to speak with Labour members about the possibilities of a positive future for our party and our country under Keir’s leadership. It was also a reminder of the time it takes to get behind a campaign like Keir’s, and the commitment it requires. So once again, a big “thank you” to all who are!
This weekend, we’ll don our daffodils for St David’s Day. Ahead of the day itself I spoke in Parliament’s annual St David’s Day debate on Thursday. I am immensely proud of my fellow Welsh Labour MPs and the work that they do across our communities in Wales, but all too often Wales is forgotten about in Westminster and the wider political debate. Welsh Labour policies have a real and positive impact on communities across Wales – be it our opt-out system of organ donations, scrapped hospital car parking charges, house building, protected nursing bursaries, school improvements and more. Good things are happening in Welsh politics – and it’s time the broadcasters and newspapers gave Wales, the Welsh Government, and our civic society the coverage and respect we deserve.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!
As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01792 462054.