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AM announces leadership intentions

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ELUNED MORGAN AM, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, has announced that she would like to stand for election to be the next leader of the Labour Party in Wales.

Ms Morgan has made it clear that she believes a thorough debate should take place regarding the future direction of Labour Party policy in Wales and that the opportunity must be seized to renew the party in office through the election of a new leader.

The Former MEP and Former Shadow Minister in the House of Lords said: “Labour has been in power in Wales since the Assembly was established back in 1999; I believe that I would be the candidate to represent change in this election. I am a relatively new member of the National Assembly, but I have decades of broader political experience having represented Wales in the European Parliament for 15 years and served on the front benches in the House of Lords.

“The Party needs to focus unrelentingly on tackling poverty in Wales, and the way to do that is to grow the economy and provide quality jobs and training. The fall-out from Brexit will be the dominating issue for at least the next five years in Wales, and I feel that my 15 years’ experience as a Welsh MEP in Brussels has taught me how to negotiate difficult and conflicting positions.”

When Carwyn Jones announced his intention to step down last month, Ms Morgan launched a national listening exercise on an online forum, ‘Beyond the Bubble’, inviting people to share their ideas, hopes and visions for the future of Wales.

She emphasised the necessity of reaching out to all parts of Wales stretching beyond Cardiff Bay and the Labour Party in an attempt to develop new policy ideas to ensure that they are in tune with the people who are living and working in communities across the nation.

She went on to said: “The response to Beyond the Bubble campaign has been overwhelming. I have engaged with hundreds of people up and down the country, asking what matters to them and what they would like to see change. These grass-roots contributions will form the basis of a people’s manifesto, and it will be on this basis that I will seek formal support from my Assembly colleagues before the end of the summer.”

“I have been encouraged to stand as leader by many who have said that they would like to see a new, fresh and energised leadership in Wales heading into the next Assembly elections. I was extremely moved that many inspirational women who took part in the procession through the Cardiff streets yesterday expressed hope that I would stand. As this year marks a century since women won the right to vote, I feel that would be letting these women down if I did not put my name forward.”

Responding to the Wales Labour Party Executive’s proposal to undertake a review of the leadership voting system Ms Morgan said: “Whilst the form of the voting system must be a decision for the Labour Party in Wales, I feel that we need to move to a one member one vote system; although we must find a way of ensuring that the politically affiliated union voice is heard within that system.”

She added: “It would be a tragedy if the leadership election did not move beyond a debate of the mechanics of an internal voting system; Wales is confronting serious future challenges and we need to position ourselves to be a highly skilled and responsive economy with strong public services which takes account of the needs of the environment and future generations.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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