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Your Candidates: Carmarthen West & South Pembs, and Preseli Pembs

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD invited each of Pembrokeshire’s General Election candidates to provide us with a statement asking them to complete the following in 300 words:

Voting for [candidate name] is best for [this constituency] because…
Eight out of eight candidates have now answered our request.
We present them below in alphabetical order and by constituency contested.

CARMARTHEN WEST AND SOUTH PEMBROKESHIRE:

ALISTAIR CAMERON

VOTING for Alistair Cameron is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because he wants to remain within the European Union, tackle the underfunding in our public services and work for new jobs for our area.

Alistair grew up in South Pembrokeshire and he has a positive vision for our area with a stronger economy, better job opportunities, a cleaner environment and better funded public services.

This depends on staying in the European Union which is vital for farming, tourism and future job opportunities. EU membership benefits our Irish ferries and our oil refinery. Staying in will secure a £50 billion Remain Bonus, with the economy 2% larger by 2024-25. This can be invested in our schools, and in tackling in-work poverty and inequality. Staying in allows British citizens to live and work throughout Europe and EU workers to work in our NHS, care homes, farms and tourist attractions. EU action forced us to clean up our beaches and seas.

The Liberal Democrats will tackle the health and social care crises through an extra £7 billion funded through putting 1p on the basic rate of income tax. In the longer term, we support a dedicated, progressive Health and Care Tax, offset by other tax reductions.

We will be carbon-neutral by 2045 through insulating all of Britain’s homes by 2030, ensuring 80% of UK electricity is from renewables by 2030 and planting 60 million trees a year. We will electrify Britain’s railways and ensure all new cars are electric by 2030.

We will provide free childcare for all children with parents in work from nine months and for all children from two years up to starting school.

Contact Alistair on facebook: AlistairCameronPembs, Twitter: AlistairPembs or email: alistairc@traseweb.co.

SIMON HART

Voting for Simon Hart is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because leavers and remainers alike share a desire to get Brexit done and get on with the important business of improving the NHS, law and order and sustaining the livelihoods and jobs of those who live and work here.

In my experience though there are plenty of non-Brexit topics that keep us awake at night – our house, our health, our job and our schools. The environment has rocketed up the list of concerns too which is why our new Environment Bill has become a flagship issue.

On top of this we are going to recruit 20,000 extra police officers (50 of them in Dyfed-Powys) invest £34 billion in the NHS (which translates into £1.4 billion for Wales) make major improvements to broadband and mobile phone coverage and invest in schools, housing and jobs – something our Labour colleagues running the Assembly will also receive the funds necessary.

We will increase the national living wage from £8.20 to £10.50 and increase the threshold for National Insurance payments to £12,500 – lifting thousands more people out of paying NI altogether.

I am lobbying strongly against the plans to reopen a Waste Transfer Station in Royal Dockyard in Pembroke Dock and fighting to retain vital services at Withybush Hospital.

I have spent years taking on BT to improve the rollout of superfast broadband and still battle with the Welsh Assembly to improve dangerous junctions such as Nash near Cosheston and Red Roses.

I have now been your MP for almost a decade during which time my local office has helped well over 10,000 local people with a whole range of different issues. Our area is special because we have such a wide range of jobs, from oil to agriculture and such a diverse community. We like to get on, to succeed, to aspire and to look after each other. My ambition is to see that continue.

RHYS THOMAS

Voting for Dr Rhys Thomas, Plaid Cymru, is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because we need an MP who’s lived life: a man with a proven track record of serving his country and saving lives. After 17 years as a front-line army medical officer in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr Rhys co-led on setting up the Wales Air Ambulance service after retiring as a Lt. Colonel to run the family farm and work as a Consultant Anaesthetist in local hospitals.

“The Wales Air Ambulance service is the best in the world and we should also work towards making our NHS the best in the world,” he said.

“While Labour, which runs the NHS in Wales, is dragging its feet, Plaid sees integrating health and social care as the only sustainable future for both services. Meanwhile, at a time of huge staffing shortage and financial cuts due to the Tory UK government’s failed austerity project, front line NHS staff are doing a heroic job,” said Dr Rhys.

“People are fed up with Tory lies and Labour false promises. Westminster is a toxic mess. This election won’t change that. ‘Let’s get Brexit done’ is a misleading lie. Brexit isn’t an event but a process – a long and hazardous process which will take several years. Wales will badly need a powerful voice to get fair play for our nation in a post-Brexit Britain. Here in west Wales, that means ensuring continuing support for agriculture, fishing and small businesses; investing to create jobs in sustainable energy to boost our economy, mitigate climate change and provide future generations with a clean and safe country to live in.

“Plaid Cymru is the only party that exists to fight Wales’ corner. Wales needs Plaid MPs more than ever before,” said Dr Rhys Thomas.

MARC TIERNEY

Voting for Marc Tierney is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because Marc is totally committed to getting things properly done. Unlike the Tory MP we have had for the last decade, he will get the support we need for jobs, the environment, hospitals and surgeries, social care, schools, training and infrastructure.

Marc said: “This has become an election about hope for a better future. I’m really excited about Labour’s plans for green jobs – including the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, an incredible boost for West Wales. I’m proud of our clean seas and our green farming and I’ll be a strong advocate for our food and tourism sector. Better technology, free broadband, and training in high skill industries mean our young people will no longer have to get out to get on.

“This has become an election about empathy. Like you, I love living here but we see every day the struggles local people have, just like in other areas. I will support a compassionate government that supports you and your family, with better-resourced services and fairer social security. Asking the very well off to pay a little more tax so that others don’t have to struggle. I support the fair pension fight for women born in the 1950s. Labour will deliver that justice. As your MP, I will always stand by your side.

“And this has become an election about trust. Throughout the campaign, I have met people right across the constituency who have told me they don’t trust Prime Minister Johnson. They have seen him lie on Brexit, on hospital funding and on nurses. They are frightened that a majority would give him free rein to pursue a trade deal with Mr Trump using our NHS. We can’t let that happen and if I am your Labour MP, trust me–it won’t.

Change only happens when you vote for it. Vote Marc Tierney on Thursday.

PRESELI PEMBROKESHIRE:

STEPHEN CRABB

Stephen is the only candidate standing in Preseli Pembrokeshire who is on the side of the majority of local people who want to see Brexit delivered.

Pembrokeshire, Wales and the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.

All the other parties are trying to block the 2016 referendum vote.  We had the referendum, there was a clear result and now it needs to get done. This is a matter of trust.

To become Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn has promised another Brexit referendum to try to overturn the result of the 2016 vote. He will also give the Scottish Nationalists a second referendum on breaking up the United Kingdom. This is not in our national interest or in the best interest of Pembrokeshire.

Once Brexit is delivered, we can move on to focus on the country’s other priorities. Lowering crime, record NHS spending and going carbon neutral by 2050.

For more than ten years Stephen has fought tirelessly for local businesses and local jobs. He has an outstanding track record in speaking up for Pembrokeshire in Parliament and has won praise for his ability to work with MPs from other parties to get things done.

Stephen has been a strong voice in opposing moves by the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff to downgrade Withybush Hospital. Welsh Conservatives will never stop fighting for Withybush.

Only the Conservatives have a clear plan for completing the rollout of fast broadband to all homes and eliminating mobile phone not-spots. This will boost the Pembrokeshire economy and help attract new investment.

Stephen can always be relied on to work hard for Pembrokeshire.

PHILIPPA THOMPSON

We need a stronger voice speaking up for us at Westminster. Philippa Thompson returned to live in Pembrokeshire after serving 30 years in the Diplomatic Service, representing and negotiating on behalf of the United Kingdom overseas.

Philippa Thompson has spoken out about the local issues which matter greatly to our community: our local hospital, our local schools. There were just 314 votes between Philippa Thompson and the Tory candidate at the 2017 election. Preseli Pembrokeshire needs a strong Labour MP again.

The Welsh budget has been consistently cut by the Tories at Westminster and that has impacted on the money available to the Welsh Government to invest in our public services, including the NHS. A Labour Government at Westminster means £3.4bn more a year for Wales.

A Labour Government will invest in our country to bring about the real change we need, investing in our public services, protecting working people, and tackling climate change. Labour’s plans for a Green Industrial Revolution offer huge opportunities for Pembrokeshire, as well as helping our country face the challenge of the climate emergency.

Philippa Thompson will use her considerable experience to stand up for Preseli Pembrokeshire at Westminster, so that we are not forgotten here, on the western edge of Wales.

Please vote for Philippa Thompson on Thursday 12 December

CRIS TOMOS

During the first few weeks of campaigning, I have had many people talk on the doorstep about the loss of trust in politics with many of those who voted to leave the EU who now are not sure if they will bother voting again.

Talking to life-long Labour voters that are not sure about Jeremy Corbyn and the billion-pound promises and then the traditional Conservative voters unsure of how they can trust what comes out of Boris Johnson’s mouth.

I can only explain to people on the door that I have worked closely with communities across Pembrokeshire to develop community-led solutions to social and economic issues and that we have to trust in the process of cooperation and plan for a better future for our communities, Pembrokeshire and Wales. None of the Westminster parties have hardly mentioned what support they will give to Wales and the people of Pembrokeshire but Plaid Cymru will deliver change at all levels and ensure the citizen is at the centre of those much needed changes.

Speaking at my campaign launch in October I noted that I entered politics to make a difference—from fighting school closures to working with communities on energy projects and community facilities. We live in tumultuous times, but we mustn’t lose focus on what is at stake. Each of us needs to commit all our energy to transform our communities and transforming our nation. That’s what I intend to do as Plaid Cymru’s candidate in Preseli, and it is what I would do if I had the privilege of representing our constituency.

At a time when politics seem to be toxic, Plaid Cymru does offer hope and trust to the people of Pembrokeshire and Wales, with recent polls showing they are the most trusted party to represent Welsh values in Westminster. I will also represent the values of the people of Pembrokeshire.

THOMAS HUGHES

The last few weeks has seen a largely Presidential style campaign in which television has largely concentrated on Boris and Jeremy. The other parties have largely been forgotten, including the Liberal Democrats and it has been difficult to get our message heard.

I am a passionate and proud Remainer. The PM tells us that a vote for the Conservatives “Will Get Brexit Done”. But we all know that leaving on 31st January 2020 is not the end of the Brexit saga. It is the start of years of negotiations and uncertainty.

The UK was once one of the strongest growing economies in the G7 nations. Brexit has brought it to a near standstill as we have had over 3 years of dithering by the Conservative who have been in power for the last 9 years.

I grew up in Fishguard and was educated at Ysgol Bro Gwaun and then went to Aberystwyth University to study International Politics and Military History. The family home is in Fishguard and both my parents work as nurses for the NHS.

I was a member of the Fishguard Sea Cadets and I am currently an Army Reservist with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Welsh.

I have been a member of the Welsh Liberal Democrats for a few years now and I am a strong proponent of electoral reform. In this election, we have seen many talk of tactical voting. This is a strong reason for voting reform as First Past the Post has failed us and I strongly believe that we need a system where EVERY vote counts. You should be able to vote for the party or candidate in a system whereby a party gets a fairer share of seats that reflects the support it has.

As well as being opposed to leaving the EU, particularly because of its negative impact on agriculture, the NHS and the economy, I have strong concerns about the wellbeing of his community and of young people across Pembrokeshire.

News

Last chance to have your say on National Park’s new Local Development Plan

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is seeking your views, having made amendments to its forthcoming Local Development Plan following the recent Examination Hearing Sessions.

These amendments are called Matters Arising Changes and any comments received will be passed on to the Inspector for consideration.

The relevant documents and representation form are available on the National Park Authority’s website: www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/haveyoursay and in paper format at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre, St Davids and the Authority’s main office in Pembroke Dock.

Copies of the documents are also available for inspection free of charge on publicly accessible computers at local libraries during their normal opening hours.

Representations should be sent by 4.30pm on Friday 13 March 2020, either by email to devplans@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or in writing to:

Park Direction
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Llanion Park
Pembroke Dock
SA72 6DY.

For further information or assistance, email devplans@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or call 01646 624800 and ask to speak to someone in the Park Direction Team dealing with the Plan.

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Education

No opt-out for learning about religion, relationships and sexuality

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PARENTS will not be able to prevent their children from learning about religion, relationships and sexuality in the new curriculum.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams made the announcement this week, emphasising the need for ‘careful and sensitive implementation’ of the decision.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams told The Herald: “Our responsibility as a government is to ensure that young people, through public education, have access to learning that supports them to discuss and understand their rights and the rights of others.

“It is essential that all young people are provided with access to information that keeps them safe from harm.

“Today’s decision ensures that all pupils will learn about issues such as online safety and healthy relationships.

The announcement was made following an eight-week Welsh Government consultation on ensuring access to the full curriculum, including the teaching of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Religious Education (RE).

Kirsty Williams added: “I recognise this is a sensitive matter and the consultation responses reflected a wide range of views.

“There is clearly a need for us to work with communities and all interested parties in developing the learning and teaching for RSE and RE – this work will be vital to enable everyone to have trust in how the change is implemented.”

The Minister outlined plans for implementation which include the creation of clear guidance, resources and professional learning for schools and the creation of a Faith/BAME Community Involvement Group to hold its first meeting this February.

The group will engage in the development of RSE guidance, develop a shared understanding of the new curriculum and address the concerns raised by faith and community groups during the consultation.

The Minister continued: “It is vital that we continue to work with communities across Wales to ensure parents have the right to develop, care for and guide their children into adulthood while allowing our schools to provide a broad and balanced education.  

We will build on the community engagement which accompanied the consultation with a long term investment in listening to our communities and finding ways to address the issues which concern them.

The Minister also confirmed plans to establish a new RSE Working Group that will oversee the refinement of the new RSE statutory guidance to form part of the new curriculum guidance.

The Minister added: “I want to take the opportunity in 2021 to test the approach for RSE prior to it being made statutory in the new curriculum.  

This will provide valuable intelligence to inform the refinement of our approach and will also enable learners, parents and carers and communities to see it working in practice and to feedback their views.”

Further details on this approach will be announced over the coming weeks.  The consultation also showed support for renaming the subject ‘Religious Education’.

The most popular choice from respondents was ‘Religion, Values and Ethics’ and, as a result, the Minister confirmed the subject name would change when the new curriculum comes into effect. The Terrence Higgins Trust said that the news was something they very much welcomed, and said that they have been campaigning for this for a number of years. The Trust said that Wales has very much lead the way on this one as the UK Government has resisted calls to remove the parental opt-out for lessons when RSE lessons become compulsory in England from September. Debbie Laycock, Head of Policy at the trust said: “By guaranteeing access to Relationships & Sexuality Education lessons for all pupils, Wales is leading the way. We’ve campaigned for compulsory RSE lessons for nearly four decades and until now far too many young people have learned about sex through whispers in the playground. 
“This decision by the Welsh Government will go some way to fixing this. It’s absolutely vital lessons are LGBT+ inclusive and have a strong focus on HIV and sexual health so all young people have the knowledge they need to form healthy and fulfilling relationships. We are now looking to the Welsh Government to continue leading the way by providing all schools with the resources and training they need to deliver these new lessons to the highest standard across the board.” 

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Business

Air Link Wales now flying from Haverfordwest

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AVIATION company Flitestar Private Air have launched their new Air Link Wales Programme connecting Haverfordwest, Caernarfon and Cardiff with other regional airports in the UK and Europe.

The company has opened an office in Menai Bridge on Anglesey – managed by James Blackler – and said it is particularly committed to improving air connectivity from North Wales.

The Air Link Wales network currently offers flight charter services from Caernarfon Airport to destinations such as Isle of Man, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton as well as London for connections to and from Gatwick and Heathrow.

They believe Southampton will be particularly popular for passengers connecting to cruises who wish to avoid the long road or rail trip down south.A flight to the south coast for two passengers from Caernarfon would cost £1,820 per person on a Piper PA34 Seneca plane.

Neil Baines, CEO of the Chester based company, said: “As a resident of Wales myself, I’ve often been frustrated by the lack of air connectivity and we are pleased to start to address this through our new Air Link Wales Charter programme which is ideally suited to both leisure and corporate customers.“Flying private can save hours of travel time which is of particular value to Wales-based organisations.”

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