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Public anger over MP’s ‘Hart-less decision’

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A PEMBROKESHIRE MP who backed the UK government not to extend the free school meal scheme to cover children throughout England for school closures up until Easter 2021, has experienced huge backlash on social media.

A motion on providing 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England, with a £15 a week voucher during school holidays until Easter 2021, was voted down in the House of Commons last Wednesday (Oct 21).

Simon Hart MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, stood with his Government and voted against the bill by 322 to 261, a majority of 61.

Simon Hart was named, along with over 300 of his Conservative colleagues, on The Daily Mirror’s front page, after voting to allow some of the UK’s poorest and vulnerable children to return to school ‘too hungry to learn’.

Stephen Crabb, the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, abstained from the vote.

With many organisations calling the decision ‘cruel’ and ‘callous’, one Pembrokeshire pub has taken their stance on the situation further.

Taking to their Facebook page, The Globe in Fishguard has issued a lifetime ban for both Pembrokeshire MP’s, they said: “Following the decision by the Mill and Il Manilo pub in West Yorkshire to ban their local MP Rishi Sunak and other MPs in nearby constituencies over their voting against extending free school meals over the holidays, I would like it known that abstainer Stephen

Crabb and Simon Hart, who voted in support of allowing children to starve, are similarly barred for life from The Globe!

“Thank God that the WG has promised to provide food vouchers for children in need in Wales.

“Anyone who actively or passively enables children to go hungry cannot possibly possess any humanity in our opinion. Here in the Globe we only allow humans and dogs to enter the building; as

Mr Crabb and Mr Hart appear to be neither of these then we feel we have no option but to impose a lifetime ban.”

In a statement on his Facebook page rounding up the week of politics, Mr Hart defended toeing the Government line: “The “opposition motion” last Wednesday seeking an extension to the free school meal programme into the holidays was non-binding and even if passed would not have changed anything.

“The frustrating thing about these motions is that they are nothing more than political theatre. For what it’s worth, it was this Government that extended FSM’s in Easter and Summer holidays in the first place but which has now decided that families in greater need are best served through increasing benefits over a whole year, not just via food vouchers in the holidays.

“I do understand how this looks in the media though (which is exasperating for all of us) but it’s not as straightforward as just removing something without trying to offset the consequences.”

Mr Hart omitted to mention that FSM provision over the summer holidays only happened after the Westminster Government was shamed into action after a massive public outcry over its initial refusal to provide them.

His position was not helped by a series of inflammatory tweets from fellow Conservative MPs, such as Ben Bradley, who claimed over the summer meal vouchers were traded for drugs and prostitutes in his Mansfield constituency.

However, Mr Hart will be pleased to have had support echoing his point on free school meals from Carol Peett, the wife of his constituency chairman, Rayner Peett.
Mrs Peett posted the following on Facebook: “All this Marcus Rashford rubbish – momentum scam to try & destabilise the government using a thick footballer’s name as a frontman – the Government had already given money to councils to make sure these children are fed so totally pointless.”

The Welsh Government has extended free school meals for those eligible through the school holidays up to and including Easter 2021.

Commenting on Simon Hart’s vote, Alistair Cameron, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said: “Simon Hart’s recent voting choices demonstrate callous neglect for struggling families. Whilst Kirsty Williams in the Senedd has been ensuring that poverty should not mean hunger for our most disadvantaged children, our MP has chosen to deny children across the border the funding that could stop them from going hungry. I am deeply disappointed in our MP.”

The Herald asked the Conservatives’ Education Shadow Minister in the Senedd, Suzy Davies MS, to say whether or not she supported the Welsh Government’s decision to extend free school meal provision.

A spokesperson replied: “The UK Government has invested more than £4 billion in Wales to fight Covid-19 which the Welsh Government are able to use to fund support for people including free school meals during holidays.”

“While the primary duty to feed children lies with the parents, we recognise lockdowns and other restrictions have placed real pressure on family budgets, especially where people haven’t been able to access support or have to use convenience shops which can be more expensive.

“Ensuring children stay physically and mentally healthy during this time is a priority so that they can get the best out of their education and not let Covid-19 define their future. But any scheme must support those who truly need it; those that can afford to contribute should.”

The £4bn claimed to be ‘invested’ in Wales is funding the UK Government was obliged to provide to our country using the Barnett funding formula. It came as a result of the UK spending further money in other parts of the UK to tackle COVID-19.

Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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