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UKIP win ‘an extraordinary result’



countPEMBROKESHIRE VOTERS sent a clear message to the main parties this week that they are not satisfied with business as usual, as UKIP came within 285 votes of the Conservatives, who again topped the poll in our County.

 Overall, Wales voted for Labour who gained 28.2% of the vote in the region, however, UKIP was closely behind in second place with 27.6% of the vote, only just over half a percentage point from Labour. The Conservatives were third with 17.4% of the vote and Plaid Cymru came fourth with 15.3%. As a result, Wales have elected Nathan Gill (UKIP), Dr Kay Swinburne (Conservative), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru) and Derek Vaughan (Labour) to represent us as MEPs on the European Parliament. The picture, nationally in the UK, was even more alarming for the main parties as UKIP actually won the popular vote with 27.5% of all votes polled. Labour came second with 25.4% and the Conservatives were a short distance off in third with 23.9% of the votes. The Liberal Democrats had a catastrophic result, coming fifth behind the Green Party with a mere 6.9% of the vote. The Herald spoke with the four elected Welsh MEP’s who gave us their reaction to this week’s results. A very upbeat Nathan Gill of UKIP said: “I’m over the moon with the result. We really wanted to come first, we were 5,000 votes short of that, but we have more than doubled our vote from the last election. The people of Wales really have spoken. We want out of this European Union and we will raise the profile of what is going on in Brussels as people need to be aware of what’s happening with their money. “We came either first or second in every constituency in Wales. That is amazing. We now have to win seats in Westminster.” He went on to confirm for The Herald that he would be standing to become an MP in the next General Election. Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne, whose party topped the European poll in Wales five years ago and finished third this time, said: “We are very pleased, overall, with the vote we have maintained. We are just 3% down on 2009. It’s looking good for 2015 for the Conservative vote and our Welsh MPs.” Jill Evans of Plaid Cymru told the Herald: “Based on the issues, and the real facts, people do understand how important it is for Wales to be represented in Europe. I wouldn’t change the way I work, but I do think we have to create much more of a real debate about our future in Europe.” Labour MEP, Derek Vaughan, responding to the question as to whether he was disappointed to have only won one seat, said: “Welsh Labour is delighted to have topped the poll. We would have liked two seats but we knew this would be very difficult. This is the best campaign ever for European elections (by Labour). We will be making sure every constituency is acting and campaigning to get the message out. “We will build on this result and it is vital for Wales and the UK that we have a Labour Government next year. There was a protest vote against the main parties. We will campaign to explain the importance of EU membership. Hopefully those that have supported UKIP will come back to Labour.” The results show a significant shift towards UKIP from all the main parties, leaving pollsters in uncertain as to what might happen in next year’s General Election. There is mounting pressure on the Liberal Democrat’s leader and deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to stand down as leader after his party’s disastrous results. Speaking about the result he acknowledged that they were a huge ‘setback’ but has vowed to go on as leader stating he would, ‘finish the job’. The Liberal Democrats lost all but one of their seats in the election and were pushed into fifth place in the UK by The Green Party. UKIP’s controversial leader Nigel Farage said that his party intends to build on what he described as ‘the most extraordinary result’ in British politics in the past century, and he went on to say that his party now appealed to all social classes and had made significant inroads in Wales and Scotland as well as winning the most votes in England. Mr Farage said: “It is over 100 years since a national election has been won by a party other than the Conservatives and Labour. Our game is to get this right, to find the right candidates, and focus our resources on getting a good number of seats in Westminster next year. “If UKIP do hold the balance of power, then indeed there will be a (EU) referendum.” He also claimed that Labour would come under enormous pressure to offer the voters a referendum on Europe, and he said he did not believe Nick Clegg would still be Liberal Democrat leader at the General Election. He finished by saying: “The three party leaders are like goldfish that have been tipped out of their bowl onto the floor and are gasping for air.” Labour leader, Ed Milliband, claimed that Labour’s second place in these elections showed the party was making progress, though he acknowledged that they had further to go. He went on to say that there was deep discontent in the UK and that the Labour Party must show it could answer the call for change. However, Mr Milliband was unwavering on his party’s position on not offering a referendum on EU membership. On a relatively disappointing night for the Conservatives, who were pushed into third place, leader and Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “I think the results give a clear message that people are deeply disillusioned with the European Union and in the way it is working for Britain, and they want change. The challenge is now for my party to demonstrate that we have the plan to deliver that change; to renegotiate Britain’s place in Europe, to get a better deal to change Europe and then put the choice to the British people in an ‘in out referendum’ before the end of 2017. “That is what we will do and the real test for that plan will come at the next General Election. People use elections like this to send messages to Government. I see this as a demand for us to deliver. They want to see us complete our long term economic plan. Tackling immigration, reforming Welfare and getting Britain’s place right in Europe are all part of our economic plan. I believe we can win the next election outright. We are going to have to convince more people.” To put matters in perspective, however, the low turnout in the Euro-poll means that UKIP’s victory in the popular vote amounts to fewer than 10% of the overall electorate. With the two largest parties bound to concentrate their resources on mobilising their core vote and targeting undecided voters on issues such as the economy, welfare and health for next year’s general election, UKIP’s ability to maintain momentum when having to campaign on more than one issue has to be called into question.

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West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow



A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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Wales international Johnny Williams signs new Scarlets contract



THE SCARLETS said this week that they are delighted to announce that Wales international centre Johnny Williams has signed a new contract with the club.

The 27-year-old joined the Scarlets from Newcastle Falcons in 2020 and after just four appearances earned his first Wales cap, against Georgia in Llanelli.

A powerful-carrying presence in the Scarlets midfield, he has since made 46 appearances, scoring six tries, including a memorable interception in last season’s Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne.

He has won seven caps for Wales, featuring at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Johnny has been a key member of the side in recent years. He’s a player who is a dynamic carrier, is physical with and without the ball, has a good skill set and has an impact on every game he’s involved in.

“He is an important cog in how we look to play and it’s fantastic that he has agreed a new contract with the club. I know the fans will be thrilled with this news and, along with the likes of Eddie James, Joe Roberts and with Macs Page coming through, we have a lot of talent in that midfield pool for the coming years.”

Johnny Williams said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. It has been a frustrating season in terms of results, but I am excited by the potential of the squad we are putting together.

“A lot of young boys have put their hands up and we showed during the final few games of the season the kind of rugby we can produce.

“Pre-season will be around before we know it and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, ready for a big start to next season.”

Johnny is the latest player to recommit to the Scarlets ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, following Tonga lock Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams.

Scarlets have also strengthened their squad with the addition of hooker Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Cheetahs), prop Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), full-back Ellis Mee (Nottingham), lock Max Douglas (Toyota Canon Eagles), Wales international prop Henry Thomas (Castres Olympique) and back-three player Blair Murray (Canterbury).

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Tata workers call first strikes in 40 years to stop steel destruction



HISTORIC strikes in Port Talbot as Labour vows emergency talks with Tata after general election

Around 1,500 Tata workers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern will begin all-out indefinite strike action over the company’s plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close its blast furnaces.

The strike action, which begins on 8 July, will severely impact Tata’s UK operations. It is the first time in over 40 years that steel workers in the UK have taken strike action.

The escalation in industrial action comes after the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began working to rule and an overtime ban on Tuesday (June 17).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs – they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not standby while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad. They know South Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel – if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Labour has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the general election to engage in talks with the government, saying there is a ‘better deal to do’. Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite. Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.

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