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Stephen Crabb: ‘I will vote to deliver Brexit tonight’

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STEPHEN CRABB MP, member of parliament for Preseli Pembrokeshire, has written an open letter to his constituents explaining his position over Brexit and explaining his intentions in supporting Theresa May in the Brexit vote tonight (Jan 15).

On his Facebook page, the MP posted: “I have received thousands of emails and letters from constituents in recent weeks outlining their views on Brexit. I am taking the time to read through every piece of correspondence because I believe it is important to hear all views from the constituency at this serious moment.

“It will not be possible to reply to all emails ahead of the vote tomorrow but I will respond as soon as I can.

“Attached is an open letter to all my constituents about the Brexit vote tonight.

“It is highly likely that the deal will be defeated later, but I believe that this deal or something very much like it will eventually have to be passed in order for us to move forward. Please take the time to read over the letter to hear my views on the process so far and what is yet to come.”

The full letter below:

Dear Constituents,

Firstly, many thanks to everyone who has contacted me about Brexit over the last few weeks and months.

I have received more than two thousand emails and letters from constituents. No other issue, including the proposed downgrading of Withybush Hospital, has generated anything like as much correspondence – and opinion has been split right down the middle. Many constituents are now arguing for a second referendum and for Brexit to be stopped, whilst on the other side many are arguing for the Brexit vote to be respected and implemented.

Tonight the House of Commons will vote on the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement. It will be the most significant vote for over forty years.

In 2016 the country voted 52% to leave the EU and 48% to remain. In Preseli Pembrokeshire, that majority was even clearer with 55% of voters wanting to leave. On the night of the referendum result I promised to give my all to ensuring that the outcome of that vote is delivered.

It would be an enormous breach of trust with voters for the referendum result to be ignored or overturned. So at every stage of the process since June 2016 I have voted consistently to implement Brexit and to allow the UK Government flexibility in the way it conducts the negotiations. I have voted against every attempt to block or water-down the referendum result, or to try and shackle the hands of the Prime Minister.

As we approach the end of the negotiation process, there is now a deal on the table. It is important to be clear about what this deal is and what it is not. This deal does not set out in detail our new long-term relationship with the EU once we leave; this is purely about the terms on which we exit at the end of March this year.

Under this Agreement, the UK ceases to be a member of the EU at the end of March but it provides for a transition period which will give clarity on trade rules for businesses while the details of the new long-term relationship are negotiated and agreed.

I will vote for the deal because I believe it is the surest and most responsible way of delivering Brexit. A lot of the criticism I have heard about the deal is ill-informed and, in some cases, blatantly untrue.

This deal ensures:

  • Free movement of people will end
  • We are free to sign trade deals with other countries
  • A free trade area for goods with the EU
  • No more vast contributions to the EU budget
  • Flexibility on services and digital
  • We leave the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy
  • The European Court of Justice won’t have jurisdiction over the UK
  • Continued security cooperation
  • Direct effect of EU law in the UK will end
  • No hard border in Northern Ireland, or a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK

On the issue of the so-called ‘Irish backstop’, I think that taking a careful approach to the sensitivities around the Irish border and protecting the gains of the peace process is the responsible thing to do. Polls show that a majority of people in Northern Ireland actually support the Irish backstop regardless of what the DUP may say.

If this Brexit deal is blocked tonight, it is very unclear what will happen next. Different groups of MPs have their own ideas on the way forward. There is a growing number of MPs calling for a second referendum to stop Brexit; there is a group of MPs arguing for a Norway style deal which would be an even softer Brexit; some are arguing for the Brexit day to be postponed to allow more time to negotiate the current deal. All of these scenarios make Brexit less likely.

Even though it is not my preferred outcome, I have consistently voted to allow the Government to spend money preparing for a No Deal outcome as I believe we should be prepared for all eventualities. However, as we saw in the votes last week, there is a majority of MPs in Parliament who will do everything in their power to try to prevent No Deal.

How we leave the EU really does matter to the lives of people who work in key sectors in Pembrokeshire, such as the ports, oil refining and agriculture. I have taken the time to discuss the different Brexit scenarios with all of the leading employers in Pembrokeshire and I honestly believe that the deal on the table is the best way forward given the very serious and specific concerns that have been raised with me by the people who create jobs for my constituents.

The deal is not perfect but no one seems to have a serious Plan B that can command a majority in the Commons. Britain needs a way forward from the current divisions and arguments that are poisoning our national politics.

Nobody knows what will happen next but I genuinely believe that the Brexit deal on the table is the only way to deliver on the referendum result with any kind of certainty.

Tonight I will vote to deliver Brexit.

Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP

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Major changes to waste and recycling services in Pembrokeshire

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THE FIRST of three major changes to waste and recycling services in Pembrokeshire is due to be rolled out soon, among which will be a new initiative where householders will be asked to demonstrate that their black bag waste does not contain any recyclable items.

The aim is to encourage more people to recycle as the County Council faces punitive fines if Welsh Government recycling targets are not met.

Two further significant changes to the Council’s waste service will take place later this year – the introduction of a free fortnightly Absorbent Hygiene Products collection (on request) starting in August and more changes to the kerbside collection services from October.

“We anticipate that before making the journey to their local centre, many householders will have already ensured that their general bin bag is free of any recyclable material,” explained Councillor Cris Tomos, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment.

“If recyclable items are in the general waste bags then householders will be asked to remove them and simply place them in the recycling containers.’

“We are determined to improve to ensure that we hit our targets. If we fail, the Council will be heavily fined and it would be unacceptable to have to divert much needed cash from essential services.

“Every one of us has a duty to recycle. It is a hot topic at the moment, especially with the concern being shown by environmentalists like David Attenborough over the amount of plastic in our oceans.

“We therefore anticipate that householders will show support for this initiative and recycle responsibly in their own homes.”

Later this month, staff at the county’s six waste and recycling centres will be handing out leaflets and speaking with householders and businesses explaining how the new bag-sorting scheme will operate.

The Council’s communications team will also be sharing information and guidance via their social media channels and the County Council website.

Explaining why the bag-sorting scheme has to work, the Council’s Head of Environmental Services and Public Protection, Richard Brown, said: “We need to increase the amount that we recycle in Pembrokeshire to meet Welsh Government’s targets.

“We currently recycle 60% of our waste but we need to recycle 64% by next year and 70 per cent by 2024 – 2025. If we miss these targets, Welsh Government will fine Pembrokeshire £140,000 for every one per cent we miss the target by.

“These changes will help ensure Pembrokeshire becomes more recycling focused and meets the targets, while also improving our environment. Wales is at the forefront of recycling on global scale and we are just a part of the story.

“We want to assure householders that, far from being a reduction in service, this is an initiative that will help everyone to dispose of the same amount of waste but in a better way.

“Our operatives will offer on-site support to anyone who is unsure about the process but our message is that these changes are not unique to Pembrokeshire.”

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Head to a lifeguarded beach this Easter Bank Holiday say Lifeboats

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WITH sun and warm temperatures predicted over the next few days, many people are likely to head to the coast to enjoy the Easter bank holiday. Although the air temperature may be warm, the waters around our coasts will still be very cold. The RNLI is urging people to stay safe and to head to a lifeguarded beach.

Although it is early in the year, RNLI lifeguards are patrolling a variety of beaches around the UK and will be on hand to offer safety advice.

The charity is encouraging anyone visiting the coast to head to a lifeguarded beach and to swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. Lifeguarded beaches provide much greater safety for general beach users, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts.

In warm weather, a dip in the sea can seem very inviting, but our waters are still very cold at this time of year. Sudden immersion in cold water puts people at risk of suffering cold water shock, which triggers the instinctive but life-threatening reaction to gasp uncontrollably and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning.

Brian Robson, Community Safety Manager for the RNLI, says: “While we are all looking forward to some spring-like weather, we’d like to remind people that the conditions around the coast can change quickly and still be challenging, and should you go in the water intentionally or unintentionally, the sea is extremely cold at this time of year, making cold water shock a real danger. If you find yourself suffering from the effects of cold water shock, fight your instincts to thrash about or try to swim – instead, relax and float on your back until the effects have passed and you can swim to safety.

“We want people to enjoy the coastline and therefore urge people to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast, by taking some basic precautions. Plan your activity – check the weather and tide conditions before going to sea, and make sure your equipment is all in working order.

“Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong, know your capabilities and make sure you wear the necessary safety equipment for your chosen activity. To find out how you can stay safe while enjoying your water activity, visit rnli.org/safety.

The RNLI is also advising people to enjoy the sun safely by making sure they apply sunscreen generously, with at least a factor 15, spend time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest between 11am-3pm and by wearing protective kit such as a shirt, sunglasses or a cap.

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

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Haverfordwest: ‘Serious facial injuries’ after Castle Square attack

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POLICE are asking the public for help following a horrific attack in Haverfordwest last month which left a young man with serious facial injuries.

The incident took place in the early hours of March 17 on Castle Square

A police spokesperson said: “Police are appealing for witnesses to a serious assault on a male which occured in the early hours of the 17th March 2019 on Castle Square, Haverfordwest.

“The Victim who is a 20-year-old male received serious facial injuries.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact PC 445 GOSLING on 101 or contact anonymously crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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