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Stephen Crabb MP appointed Secretary of State for Wales

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Future secure: Stephen Crabb MP has announced that Murco's will stay open.

Cabinet position: Stephen Crabb MP

PRESELI Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb has been appointed Secretary of State for Wales in the Cabinet reshuffle.

The new Secretary of State for Wales was first elected as Member of Parliament for his home constituency of Preseli Pembrokeshire in 2005 and was re-elected in May 2010 with an increased majority of 4,605.

He grew up in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, where he attended Tasker Milward School. He holds degrees from Bristol University (BSc.) and London Business School (MBA). Mr Crabb has said that his experiences growing up in a single-parent household on a council estate have informed his views on social mobility being important in modern society.

Before being elected to Parliament he worked as a marketing consultant. He has also worked for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He has been a volunteer youth worker in South London and was Chairman of Governors of a large inner city primary school between 1998 and 2002.

Stephen has close links with a number of charities which help young people overcome challenges and is Patron of Pembrokeshire MENCAP. He is also Patron of the Friends of Haverfordwest Museum and Pembrokeshire Counselling Service.

From 1995-1996, Mr Crabb worked as a Parliamentary intern for Christian Action Research and Education, an offshoot from the evangelical Nationwide Festival of Light. CARE has been criticised for their opposition to abortion and gay rights. CARE believe sexuality to be a choice, curable by prayer.

Mr Crabb voted against the legalisation of gay marriage in July 2013.
He was also the subject of criticism for “flipping” an expenses claim to enable it to be recovered against his constituency home and subsequently designating a room in a London apartment as his main home.

In Parliament Mr Crabb has served on the Welsh Affairs, International Development and Treasury Select Committees. In January 2009 he was appointed to the front bench as Opposition Whip.

Following the formation of the Coalition Government in May 2011 Mr Crabb was appointed as an Assistant Government Whip. In 2012 Stephen was promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Wales Office and was also given an enhanced role in the Whips Office.

When the leader of Project Umubano, the Conservative Party’s social action project in Rwanda and Sierra Leone from 2010-2012, Stephen Crabb took Conservative volunteers to work in the fields of Education, Business, Health, Justice and Community alongside local partners in those two countries.

In Pembrokeshire, Mr Crabb has been an advocate of the expanding renewable energy sector and has most recently been in the local news regarding the takeover of the MurCo refinery. He is also a founding Officer of the All-Party Dairy Industry Group in Parliament.

Outside of politics, Mr Crabb is a keen sportsman and enjoys rugby, mountain biking and tennis. He has run the London Marathon three times, money for local charities in the process. He also enjoys cooking, playing guitar and learning French.

Stephen is married to Béatrice and has two young children.

Commenting on the appointment, Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member, Paul Davies said: “I’m delighted to congratulate Stephen on his new appointment. He is a dedicated and hard working MP, and his promotion to the role of Secretary of State clearly demonstrates the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of his talents and skills. I am privileged to work closely with him at a local level where he is fully committed to Preseli Pembrokeshire. I know that he will be an excellent Secretary of State who will be a strong voice for Wales across the Cabinet table, and of course, a huge asset to the people across the whole of our country.”

Commenting on the appointment of Stephen Crabb as Secretary of State for Wales, shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP, said: “Congratulations to Stephen Crabb on his appointment as the third Secretary of State for Wales in the last 22 months. It is a great privilege for anyone to be asked to serve as the Secretary of State for our country and Mr Crabb now has an equally great responsibility to break free from the ceaseless negativity that has characterised his predecessors’ attitude to Wales and the achievements of the Welsh Government.

“I have written to the new Secretary of State today to formally offer my congratulations, but also to call on him to go into the new job with the aim of standing up for our nation, rather than indulging in politicised attacks on Wales, with the aim of winning votes in England. The Wales Office can play a vital role in being the voice of Wales at Westminster, but it has recently been reduced to a crude propaganda machine attacking the very country it is supposed to represent, as a proxy for attacking the wider Labour Party. Speaking from the steps of 10 Downing Street Mr Crabb has this morning pledged to ‘work hard for Wales’. I hope and trust that will be the case, and that the war on Wales might end on his watch.

Stephen Crabb“Mr Crabb shares with his predecessor a long stated scepticism about the value of devolution, calling it in the past a form of ‘constitutional vandalism’, and he will thus face legitimate questions about his commitment to the devolved settlement and his desire to take it forward. He not long ago lamented that it was no longer saleable ‘to call for the abolition of the devolved institutions’. Let’s hope he takes a more enlightened view now he’s responsible for them. A key test for Mr Crabb in this regard will be whether he supports the Silk Commission and Labour’s view that our country should have the same, ‘reserved’ model of devolved powers as those applied in Scotland.”

Stephen Crabb said: “It is a huge privilege to join the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Wales. As a government, we are ambitious for Wales and determined that Wales should be at the forefront of the UK economic recovery.

“I will be working closely with my colleagues in the UK and Welsh governments to see new opportunities created for Wales. People and businesses across Wales want to see the two governments working together effectively and delivering the investment our nation needs. I believe that Wales deserves the best and I look forward to providing a strong voice for Wales around the Cabinet table.

“I will build on the excellent work of my predecessor, David Jones, who achieved so much during his time as Welsh Secretary. He leaves a strong legacy to Wales, not least in breaking new ground in the devolution settlement by devolving tax powers to Wales. He also worked hard to secure new investment for the new nuclear power station at Wylfa, the new prison in Wrexham and reopening the Halton Curve line between Liverpool and North Wales.

He added: “It is a massive honour to be the first Welsh Secretary of State from Pembrokeshire since Nick Edwards in the 1980s. I have an opportunity now to work hard for the whole of Wales in the same way I have always sought to do for Pembrokeshire. The first priority of any MP, regardless of their position in government, is to put the needs of their constituency first and I will always do this for Preseli Pembrokeshire.”

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1 Comment

  1. Andrew Lye

    July 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Correction – the coalition government was formed in May 2010 not 2011.
    Secondly, unlike Labour hating the fact that the Tories are highlighting the failures of Welsh Labour at the Welsh Assembly, I welcome anyone that highlights the failures as they are invariably FACT. If Welsh Labour was doing better, the Tories would not use the ammunition handed to them on a plate.

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Protest over animal welfare concerns at Bramble Hill Farm

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LOCALS held a peaceful protest at the site of a Pembroke Dock farm, where over 200 animals were removed after a multi agency response to animal welfare concerns last month.

Around 100 worried locals from Pembroke and Pembroke Dock gathered at the entrance to Bramble Hill Farm last Friday (Feb 15) at 4pm. Those present believed the farm owners are still in possession of dogs, which they cited as the reason for the protest. Head of Environment and Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council, Richard Brown later confirmed that there were two dogs left on the farm, but explained they were elderly and looked after. Locals hoped the protest would mean the removal of any animals still left at the property and a ban imposed to prevent any further animals being kept at the property or by the owners.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police were present, with the Herald reporter in attendance being told that the police were ensuring it remained peaceful and to keep traffic congestion to a minimum. There was evident hostility towards to the local authorities and RSPCA amongst the protesters, with many feeling that their concerns about the farm were not dealt with soon enough by the relevant organisations.

Speaking to the crowd, Richard Brown said: “So the idea of what we do is, we are proceeding with our enquiries and get the case together. If we get a successful conviction, it’s an opportunity to get a ban on keeping animals. Without that conviction we can’t get a ban.”

He was challenged numerous times on whether Sean Burns, owner of the farm, has been prosecuted for animal cruelty. Mr Brown then confirmed that ‘he has been prosecuted previously’.

He added: “We have to be careful not to prejudice any case. All of our interests is animal welfare. We can’t just go in and remove animals because people want us to. We don’t have those powers.

“There is a range of offences being investigated and a range of individuals being investigated.”

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Neyland woman imprisoned for driving while disqualified

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A 35-YEAR-OLD woman who was caught driving while disqualified twice in four days days has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Victoria Anne James, of College Park, Neyland, was stopped by Dyfed-Powys Police roads policing officers in Johnston on Friday, February 15. She was reported for the offences and her Alfa Romeo car was seized.

James was stopped a second time by police on Monday, February 18, for driving while disqualified while driving another car.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of driving while disqualified and two counts of driving without insurance.

She was convicted at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts that same day and received a six month prison sentence, and received a further 24 months Driving Disqualification.

Sergeant Justin Williams said: “Police intelligence led officers to stop Victoria Anne James on February 15 where she was reported for offences and her car was seized. For her to commit the same offence two days later shows her disregard for the law.

“I hope this targeted, swift work from roads policing officers and the courts, which has resulted in a prison sentence serves as a stark warning to James and others considering flouting the laws on our roads. We are monitoring our roads and we will take robust action to ensure we keep other drivers on our roads safe by upholding the law.”

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Boy took his own life after failure to refer him for psychiatric support

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THE INQUEST into the death of 14 year-old Derek Brundrett, who was found hanged at Pembroke School in December 2013, has found that there were individual failings in efforts to get psychiatric support for the teenage boy – who then went on to take his own life.

Derek had seven different social workers and record keeping by social services was in a “shocking state of affairs” leading up to his death.

Returning a narrative verdict, the Assistant Coroner, Paul Bennett, said: “That Derek Brundrett took his own life and intended to do so in circumstances where, despite efforts to refer him for psychiatric support there was a failure to do so.”

Although no systemic failures were found, the Assistant Coroner ruled that there was a failure to refer by a social worker, a failure by a GP to provide extra information when referrals in 2012 and 2013 were declined, and a further failure to provide the relevant information on the appropriate referral form of a Looked After Child.

Derek’s death was in the context that he had been returned to foster care and was concerned about a return to the Pupil Referral Unit.

Derek’s actions were not considered to be a cry for help but rather a deliberate attempt at self-harm, the Coroner’s report stated.

The inquest had previously heard there were numerous failed attempts to refer him to mental health services.

A social services referral plan was not completed by Derek’s social worker because “she believed him to be happy”.

The inquest also heard Derek’s GP had made “routine” referrals for mental health treatment in 2012 and 2013.

Angela Lodwick, head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for the Hywel Dda University Health Board, said they had to “prioritise children with severe mental health disorders”.

She added requests for more information about Derek’s condition went unanswered.

But she told the inquest that, at the time, CAMHS was not proactive in seeking more information.

Ms Lodwick said CAMHS would have probably “taken him on referral and made an assessment” if they had known about Derek’s risk-taking behaviour and talk of suicide in 2013, such as when he climbed onto the school roof.

She told the inquest the system had been inadequate and “the position was that everyone sat on their hands waiting” but CAMHS has since made improvements.

A spokesman for the Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The death of a child is a profound loss and all the professionals involved in this tragedy feel great sympathy for Derek and his family and friends. We would like to repeat our sincere condolences to them at this time.

“Derek’s loss is deeply felt by those individuals who had formed close and caring relationships with him.

“We would like to thank the Coroner for his thorough investigation and consideration of the case.

“We will, of course, reflect upon all of the issues that have been raised during the Inquest, and consider what lessons can be learned with a view to continuing to ensure the safeguarding and well-being of all children and young persons served by Pembrokeshire County Council.”

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