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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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Newgale: New £30m road proposed to combat coastal damage

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has revealed a preferred new route for a road around Newgale today (Sept 25) at an event in Roch.

The new stretch of road would begin at Pencym and end at a new roundabout near Roch.

A new route is needed due to fears about road closures during high tides and winds, as well as coastal damage caused by global warming.

Reports have suggested that the current Newgale road may not exist in 20 years times.

The new route could cost up to £30m – compared to £40m a proposed viaduct would cost – and would need funding from the Welsh Government.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Transport officials will continue to work closely with the authority as they progress with their studies and firm up their proposals for addressing the current problems with the A487.

“Welsh Government is open to consider an application for funding to move forward the development work.”

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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays

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STEPHEN CRABB has called on the Welsh Government to come clean over broadband rollout delays.

Minister Julie James AM, whose responsibilities include digital infrastructure and inclusion, has been urged to explain the reasons for delays to the rollout of superfast broadband to rural properties across Wales.

Last year, the Superfast Cymru scheme saw BT receive £425m in return for connecting the vast majority of premises in Wales to next-generation broadband.

When the contract ended, 90,000 mainly rural properties still had not been connected. Further details of another scheme to complete the work were due to be announced in July, but at the start of August, Julie James AM suddenly announced that ‘unforeseen issues’ were causing delays which could not be further discussed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “It’s simply unacceptable for the Minister responsible to announce delays to the next stage of Broadband rollout but refuse to explain why. Access to reliable, fast broadband is of increasing importance to businesses, large and small, in Pembrokeshire and I have worked with many across the constituency to improve their broadband access.

“However, the digital divide continues to exist with rural communities in Pembrokeshire suffering again. It is an inescapable fact that delivery of broadband infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government and Julie James AM should now come forward and explain the reasons for these delays.”

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Air ambulance lands at ‘serious’ crash scene

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THE WALES AIR AMBULANCE has landed at the scene of a serious crash this morning (Sept 25) between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts on the A477.

Posts on Facebook from witnesses at the scene say a man is being treated by paramedics.

Police have said one car was involved in the incident.

In addition to the helicopter, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Welsh Ambulance Service and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place.

A police spokesperson said:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is at the scene of a serious RTC between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts, Pembrokeshire.

“The A477 stretch between those roundabouts is currently closed while emergency services deal with the incident. One car is involved; the driver has received serious injuries.

“No further information is available at this time.”

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