A very happy St. David’s Day – Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus – to everyone living in Swansea East and across Wales! I do hope you’re having a wonderful day.
Yesterday, I spoke in a special debate in Parliament for St. David’s Day which gave me an opportunity to highlight some of the things the Welsh Labour Government have been doing to improve the lives of everyone across Swansea and communities further afield. From free childcare, huge investment in our railways through Transport for Wales, to working with our trades unions to protect jobs and create economic growth, Welsh Labour are continuing to stand up for Wales, even in the face of continuing Tory austerity.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, seemed to be in denial throughout the debate. At a recent session of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, he wasn’t able to name a single infrastructure project that he had delivered during his time in office. This is utterly shameful and exposes the Tories’ sheer lack of ambition for Wales, and particularly for Swansea with the scandalous scrapping of the Tidal Lagoon. During the debate, whether it was on zero hours contracts, investment in our railways or the impact of Brexit uncertainty, the Welsh Secretary and his fellow Welsh Tory MPs had simply nothing to say.
I also raised my campaign to establish a Children’s Funeral Fund during this debate. This is something that was promised to me by the Prime Minister herself on Easter Sunday last year. It is shameful that, almost a year on, she has failed to deliver on this promise and families in England still do not have this fund to draw from at what will surely be the most difficult time of their life. I also raised this on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and was very pleased when the Conservative MP, Sir John Hayes, joined my call for the Prime Minister to make good on her promise at Prime Minister’s Questions. It’s positive that Theresa May has now confirmed that the fund will be established by the summer. But, on behalf of the many families who may suffer during that time, I say only this: I really hope the summer means May rather than August.
Earlier in the week, I spoke in favour of the Bill which has now been brought forward to tackle the scourge of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I continue to find it ridiculous that this important change was not made in Government time, in the first place. Nevertheless, it is pleasing that this Bill is being accelerated through the Commons following Conservative MP, Sir Christopher Chope’s scandalous attempt to block this change a few weeks ago. I hope this vital change becomes law as soon as possible.
Yesterday, I was delighted to Chair the latest meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Children in Wales where Professor Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, presented her annual report. This was a really positive opportunity to discuss the issues facing children – and parents – across Wales at the moment and ways through which we can help to improve any of these issues.
To tie off the end of an incredibly hectic week, I was honoured to deliver a reading at the St. David’s Day service at Parliament’s Church, where we were also treated to a performance from the fabulous Only Boys Aloud! I’d like to extend my very best wishes to everyone celebrating at their own services today and into the weekend.
As always, if you ever want to raise any issues or concerns with me as your local MP, please get in touch by calling my constituency office on 01792 462054 or email me via firstname.lastname@example.org.