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Democracy is there for the benefit of the country not the politicians”

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democracy benefitsTHIS WEEK The Herald spoke with Preselli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb. He started by saying:

“Back in my school days at Tasker Milward I asked if we could have a daily newspaper in the sixth form common room and they gave us ‘The Independent’. I think the teachers were keen that we got a balanced view and rightly so!

“That developed into an interest in practical politics later on, after university, when I was living and working away in London. My mum brought me and my brothers up on her own in a council house and I found it really rewarding working with youngsters that I could relate to. I was then asked to become a governor of a large inner city primary school, and from there I started taking a closer interest in political issues – especially those concerning young people, education and poverty.

“I remember sitting next to a Labour MP at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1996 and he advised me that if I wanted to do anything in politics I had to join a party and get stuck in. I took his advice, but didn’t join the party he suggested. He is still an MP and we have become very good friends since then”.

He went on to describe his week, saying:

“My typical week involves leaving Pembrokeshire either on a Sunday night or early Monday morning. I get back to the constituency late on a Thursday night. At the moment, because of the Wales Office job, once every couple of weeks I also do a mid-week visit to Cardiff to meet with Welsh Government ministers and others.

“Every Friday and most Saturdays are working days in Pembrokeshire doing surgeries and meeting with local businesses and other groups. I try to keep Sundays completely clear. The amount of time I have for constituency duties has not changed – that is protected time in the diary.

“I am incredibly fortunate to represent the seat where I grew up and being the local MP is, and always will be, the most important aspect of the job”.

The Herald asked Mr Crabb what were the key issues and events from last year in which he was involved, and what he thought 2014 would bring:

“The biggest issue facing our county last year, as now, was the threat hanging over Withybush Hospital. In 2013 I was also very busy with the decisions being taken by the Ministry of Defence over Cawdor Barracks, the home of the 14 Signal Regiment.

“Again, this was an issue where we knew that the desire to move the base had been around for some years. I fought very hard first of all to try to hold off that decision, but when it became imminent my priority was to secure an agreement from ministers that the Regiment wouldn’t move before 2018.

“I was able to get that agreement and that’s provided an important opportunity to ensure that we are not suddenly left with a hole in the local economy when the Signals move up the road to St Athans.

“On a happier front, I was closely involved with HSA in seeing the Haverfordwest Skatepark project clear its final hurdles and construction underway. To see to it finally open at the end of the year was thrilling for everyone involved.

“I want to see the country continue to improve, the economy to get stronger, and for Wales and Pembrokeshire to continue to feel the benefit of that. If that happens, it means my work both as a Wales Office Minister and as MP is bearing some fruit”.

On what the best and worst aspects of the job are, and how he felt about elections, he said: “I’ve fought three general elections now. I’ve lost one and I’ve won two and I definitely know which feeling I prefer. Democracy is there for the benefit of the country and the people; it’s not there for the benefit of politicians.

“In terms of what’s really fulfilling, unquestionably it’s when I see hard-work paying off and results coming through, whether for individual constituents and businesses, through casework, or at a community level working in partnership with others to secure more investment in Pembrokeshire. Perhaps the worst aspect of the job is the number of hours of my life I now spend travelling each week. I have come to dislike driving very much”.

Finally, we asked the MP when we might be treated to seeing him on Question Time, to which he said: “I was just wondering the same thing!”

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Large emergency service mobilisation to assist driver who went over cliff near oil refinery

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POLICE, ambulance, coastguard, and RNLI and two helicopters were all involved in the extraction of a casualty from a vehicle which had gone over a cliff and landed on the beach at Popton Fort very near to Valero Oil Refinery on Thursday morning.

The emergency call came just after 6.30am, with a large number of rescuers arriving quickly to assist the driver of the vehicle.

Valero oil refinery confirmed that the incident did not involve their facility.

RNLI Angle posted on social media saying the following: “Our crew were paged at 6:37am to a vehicle over the cliff near Popton Fort.

“A vehicle had left the road and fallen onto the beach below.

“Police, ambulance, the fire service and St Govans and Tenby coastguard rescue teams were already on scene, however the lifeboat was requested to assist with evacuating the casualty due to the difficult location.

“Following assessment and stabilisation by paramedics, it was decided that the casualty’s injuries were potentially too severe for transfer by sea, but not ruled out completely due to the incoming tide.

“With this, a request was made for the air ambulance to attend.

“With the air ambulance paramedics now on scene, their assessment was that evacuation by helicopter would be the most appropriate, therefore a further request was made for the a coastguard rescue helicopter to attend and evacuate the casualty.

“With the option of evacuation by lifeboat still a possibility, the all-weather lifeboat stood off should it be required.

“With the coastguard helicopter now on scene, the casualty was handed over into the helicopter for onward transfer to hospital.

“The lifeboat was stood down to return to station, arriving back at 8:30am.”

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National Park Trust supporters take a walk on the wild side

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SUPPORTERS of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust were treated to a dazzling display of wildlife during a recent guided walk through Skrinkle Meadow.

The event, which took place against a backdrop of glorious summer weather, was arranged as a way of expressing thanks to Trust supporters and highlighting the importance of meadows and the Trust’s Make More Meadows campaign.

The Make More Meadows campaign has been running since April 2019, and seeks to reverse a dramatic national decline in wildflower meadows over the last 75 years. So far, it has raised enough money to support 13 meadow sites, covering a total of 132 hectares and providing vital habitats for pollinators and other wildlife.

Director of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust Jessica Morgan said: “The Walk and Talk event at Skrinkle was an excellent opportunity to showcase the colourful results of meadow restoration, and our thanks go to National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager Libby Taylor, whose expertise turned this into a thoroughly enjoyable visit. National Park Authority Wardens have worked for years to improve biodiversity at Skrinkle Meadow, and seeds from the meadow have been used to create other wildflower meadows in the Park.

“On this occasion, six-spot burnet moths stole the show, but in previous years Skrinkle Meadow has provided some of the best orchid displays and richest variety of wildflowers in the county.”

The meadow regeneration theme was of particular interest to many of the attendees, who either have meadows of their own, or are considering establishing new ones.

To learn about the work of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust and exclusive supporter events like this, sign up to the newsletter at https://pembrokeshirecoasttrust.wales/

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Paddleboarder with suspected wrist fracture assisted by Fishguard RNLI

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ON SATURDAY (Aug 13), a female paddleboarder, who decided to take a swim when located at Aber Bach, unfortunately fractured her wrist when diving from a nearby rock. Her female companion called for assistance which resulted in Fishguard RNLI’s inshore lifeboat being tasked to the scene, located between Fishguard and Dinas Head.

The inshore lifeboat, with three crew members, launched at 2.20pm and arrived on scene at 2.40pm. Her injury was assessed by a crew member, who is a practicing doctor, and she and her companion were transferred to Pwllgwaelod beach where their car was located and they drove to Withybush Hospital for further treatment.

The lifeboat then returned to base at 3.00pm.

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