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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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Meet the Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor

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A NEW Pembrokeshire business is proving to be an inspiration for young people after its recent launch.

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor is the brainchild of Ewan Griffiths, who turned his dream into reality thanks to the advice and support of Cam Nesa.

The project aims to reduce the number of young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, training or employment.

Before signing up to Cam Nesa, Ewan was out of work and struggling for direction, and anxiety was preventing him from maximising his potential.

Throughout his journey with Cam Nesa, Ewan worked closely with youth worker Donna Wright to devise a plan that provided support and guidance to improve his confidence and self-esteem, and provide mechanisms for coping with anxiety.

In addition, the project provided Ewan with opportunities to gain qualifications and obtain information that would help him with starting his own business.

Ewan’s message to other young people is simple, “If you find yourself struggling, there is help.”

“Cam Nesa supported me in all aspects of my plan, and working with Donna was fantastic.”

“I would definitely encourage others to reach out for support.”

Donna Wright, who supported Ewan throughout his Cam Nesa journey, said that the launch of his new business is a great source of pride for Cam Nesa and Pembrokeshire Youth Service.

“Ewan has come on leaps and bounds, and it was his engagement and determination that has made his outcome with Cam Nesa so successful and inspiring”, she said.

“Congratulations Ewan on your achievements, and we all wish you good luck with your new business.”

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor provides repairs and servicing for mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, and most agricultural engines, with the mobile service providing collection and returns.

For more information, search ‘Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor’ on Facebook.

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Milford Haven: Mount estate death not being treated as suspicious say police

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POLICE have confirmed that following a welfare visit to a property in Mount Estate, they discovered a male occupant, in his 30’s, in need of medical help.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff he sadly passed away on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the police confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a property at the Mount Estate, Milford Haven on Friday 30th April 2021, following a report of concern for the welfare of the occupier.

“A male was taken to hospital where he died on Sunday 2nd May 2021.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

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Polling station changes in Pembrokeshire

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POLLING STATIONS in Pembrokeshire are open today (May 6) but a small number may have changed from the last time you voted.

In Neyland, the polling station will be at the new Community Hub building on John Street.

St Katherine’s Church Hall will be the new host for the station in Milford Haven, having previously been held at the Murray Suite in the town hall.

A polling station will be placed at the leisure centre in Haverfordwest while one at Trecwn has been moved to the Gate, Scleddau.

Voters in the county will be electing for the Preseli Pembrokeshire and the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire constituencies.

People will also be able to select five MSs to represent the Mid and West Wales Region.

The candidate with the most votes will win the constituency but the ballot for the region will be decided by a different process.

People will be elected according to their share of the vote, using a mathematical process, and gives parties who may have won fewer or no constituencies a better chance of winning regional ones.

It will also be a big day for 16 and 17 year olds as they will be able to vote in Welsh elections for the first time.

The ballots will be counted on Friday (May 7) with results expected to come in from the afternoon.

Polling stations opened at 7am and will close at 10pm.

All those who vote will be required to stick to Covid-19 safety measures including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

Clean pencils will be available but voters can bring their own pen or pencil.

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