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Your Candidates: Carmarthen West & South Pembs, and Preseli Pembs

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD invited each of Pembrokeshire’s General Election candidates to provide us with a statement asking them to complete the following in 300 words:

Voting for [candidate name] is best for [this constituency] because…
Eight out of eight candidates have now answered our request.
We present them below in alphabetical order and by constituency contested.

CARMARTHEN WEST AND SOUTH PEMBROKESHIRE:

ALISTAIR CAMERON

VOTING for Alistair Cameron is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because he wants to remain within the European Union, tackle the underfunding in our public services and work for new jobs for our area.

Alistair grew up in South Pembrokeshire and he has a positive vision for our area with a stronger economy, better job opportunities, a cleaner environment and better funded public services.

This depends on staying in the European Union which is vital for farming, tourism and future job opportunities. EU membership benefits our Irish ferries and our oil refinery. Staying in will secure a £50 billion Remain Bonus, with the economy 2% larger by 2024-25. This can be invested in our schools, and in tackling in-work poverty and inequality. Staying in allows British citizens to live and work throughout Europe and EU workers to work in our NHS, care homes, farms and tourist attractions. EU action forced us to clean up our beaches and seas.

The Liberal Democrats will tackle the health and social care crises through an extra £7 billion funded through putting 1p on the basic rate of income tax. In the longer term, we support a dedicated, progressive Health and Care Tax, offset by other tax reductions.

We will be carbon-neutral by 2045 through insulating all of Britain’s homes by 2030, ensuring 80% of UK electricity is from renewables by 2030 and planting 60 million trees a year. We will electrify Britain’s railways and ensure all new cars are electric by 2030.

We will provide free childcare for all children with parents in work from nine months and for all children from two years up to starting school.

Contact Alistair on facebook: AlistairCameronPembs, Twitter: AlistairPembs or email: alistairc@traseweb.co.

SIMON HART

Voting for Simon Hart is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because leavers and remainers alike share a desire to get Brexit done and get on with the important business of improving the NHS, law and order and sustaining the livelihoods and jobs of those who live and work here.

In my experience though there are plenty of non-Brexit topics that keep us awake at night – our house, our health, our job and our schools. The environment has rocketed up the list of concerns too which is why our new Environment Bill has become a flagship issue.

On top of this we are going to recruit 20,000 extra police officers (50 of them in Dyfed-Powys) invest £34 billion in the NHS (which translates into £1.4 billion for Wales) make major improvements to broadband and mobile phone coverage and invest in schools, housing and jobs – something our Labour colleagues running the Assembly will also receive the funds necessary.

We will increase the national living wage from £8.20 to £10.50 and increase the threshold for National Insurance payments to £12,500 – lifting thousands more people out of paying NI altogether.

I am lobbying strongly against the plans to reopen a Waste Transfer Station in Royal Dockyard in Pembroke Dock and fighting to retain vital services at Withybush Hospital.

I have spent years taking on BT to improve the rollout of superfast broadband and still battle with the Welsh Assembly to improve dangerous junctions such as Nash near Cosheston and Red Roses.

I have now been your MP for almost a decade during which time my local office has helped well over 10,000 local people with a whole range of different issues. Our area is special because we have such a wide range of jobs, from oil to agriculture and such a diverse community. We like to get on, to succeed, to aspire and to look after each other. My ambition is to see that continue.

RHYS THOMAS

Voting for Dr Rhys Thomas, Plaid Cymru, is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because we need an MP who’s lived life: a man with a proven track record of serving his country and saving lives. After 17 years as a front-line army medical officer in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr Rhys co-led on setting up the Wales Air Ambulance service after retiring as a Lt. Colonel to run the family farm and work as a Consultant Anaesthetist in local hospitals.

“The Wales Air Ambulance service is the best in the world and we should also work towards making our NHS the best in the world,” he said.

“While Labour, which runs the NHS in Wales, is dragging its feet, Plaid sees integrating health and social care as the only sustainable future for both services. Meanwhile, at a time of huge staffing shortage and financial cuts due to the Tory UK government’s failed austerity project, front line NHS staff are doing a heroic job,” said Dr Rhys.

“People are fed up with Tory lies and Labour false promises. Westminster is a toxic mess. This election won’t change that. ‘Let’s get Brexit done’ is a misleading lie. Brexit isn’t an event but a process – a long and hazardous process which will take several years. Wales will badly need a powerful voice to get fair play for our nation in a post-Brexit Britain. Here in west Wales, that means ensuring continuing support for agriculture, fishing and small businesses; investing to create jobs in sustainable energy to boost our economy, mitigate climate change and provide future generations with a clean and safe country to live in.

“Plaid Cymru is the only party that exists to fight Wales’ corner. Wales needs Plaid MPs more than ever before,” said Dr Rhys Thomas.

MARC TIERNEY

Voting for Marc Tierney is best for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire because Marc is totally committed to getting things properly done. Unlike the Tory MP we have had for the last decade, he will get the support we need for jobs, the environment, hospitals and surgeries, social care, schools, training and infrastructure.

Marc said: “This has become an election about hope for a better future. I’m really excited about Labour’s plans for green jobs – including the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, an incredible boost for West Wales. I’m proud of our clean seas and our green farming and I’ll be a strong advocate for our food and tourism sector. Better technology, free broadband, and training in high skill industries mean our young people will no longer have to get out to get on.

“This has become an election about empathy. Like you, I love living here but we see every day the struggles local people have, just like in other areas. I will support a compassionate government that supports you and your family, with better-resourced services and fairer social security. Asking the very well off to pay a little more tax so that others don’t have to struggle. I support the fair pension fight for women born in the 1950s. Labour will deliver that justice. As your MP, I will always stand by your side.

“And this has become an election about trust. Throughout the campaign, I have met people right across the constituency who have told me they don’t trust Prime Minister Johnson. They have seen him lie on Brexit, on hospital funding and on nurses. They are frightened that a majority would give him free rein to pursue a trade deal with Mr Trump using our NHS. We can’t let that happen and if I am your Labour MP, trust me–it won’t.

Change only happens when you vote for it. Vote Marc Tierney on Thursday.

PRESELI PEMBROKESHIRE:

STEPHEN CRABB

Stephen is the only candidate standing in Preseli Pembrokeshire who is on the side of the majority of local people who want to see Brexit delivered.

Pembrokeshire, Wales and the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.

All the other parties are trying to block the 2016 referendum vote.  We had the referendum, there was a clear result and now it needs to get done. This is a matter of trust.

To become Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn has promised another Brexit referendum to try to overturn the result of the 2016 vote. He will also give the Scottish Nationalists a second referendum on breaking up the United Kingdom. This is not in our national interest or in the best interest of Pembrokeshire.

Once Brexit is delivered, we can move on to focus on the country’s other priorities. Lowering crime, record NHS spending and going carbon neutral by 2050.

For more than ten years Stephen has fought tirelessly for local businesses and local jobs. He has an outstanding track record in speaking up for Pembrokeshire in Parliament and has won praise for his ability to work with MPs from other parties to get things done.

Stephen has been a strong voice in opposing moves by the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff to downgrade Withybush Hospital. Welsh Conservatives will never stop fighting for Withybush.

Only the Conservatives have a clear plan for completing the rollout of fast broadband to all homes and eliminating mobile phone not-spots. This will boost the Pembrokeshire economy and help attract new investment.

Stephen can always be relied on to work hard for Pembrokeshire.

PHILIPPA THOMPSON

We need a stronger voice speaking up for us at Westminster. Philippa Thompson returned to live in Pembrokeshire after serving 30 years in the Diplomatic Service, representing and negotiating on behalf of the United Kingdom overseas.

Philippa Thompson has spoken out about the local issues which matter greatly to our community: our local hospital, our local schools. There were just 314 votes between Philippa Thompson and the Tory candidate at the 2017 election. Preseli Pembrokeshire needs a strong Labour MP again.

The Welsh budget has been consistently cut by the Tories at Westminster and that has impacted on the money available to the Welsh Government to invest in our public services, including the NHS. A Labour Government at Westminster means £3.4bn more a year for Wales.

A Labour Government will invest in our country to bring about the real change we need, investing in our public services, protecting working people, and tackling climate change. Labour’s plans for a Green Industrial Revolution offer huge opportunities for Pembrokeshire, as well as helping our country face the challenge of the climate emergency.

Philippa Thompson will use her considerable experience to stand up for Preseli Pembrokeshire at Westminster, so that we are not forgotten here, on the western edge of Wales.

Please vote for Philippa Thompson on Thursday 12 December

CRIS TOMOS

During the first few weeks of campaigning, I have had many people talk on the doorstep about the loss of trust in politics with many of those who voted to leave the EU who now are not sure if they will bother voting again.

Talking to life-long Labour voters that are not sure about Jeremy Corbyn and the billion-pound promises and then the traditional Conservative voters unsure of how they can trust what comes out of Boris Johnson’s mouth.

I can only explain to people on the door that I have worked closely with communities across Pembrokeshire to develop community-led solutions to social and economic issues and that we have to trust in the process of cooperation and plan for a better future for our communities, Pembrokeshire and Wales. None of the Westminster parties have hardly mentioned what support they will give to Wales and the people of Pembrokeshire but Plaid Cymru will deliver change at all levels and ensure the citizen is at the centre of those much needed changes.

Speaking at my campaign launch in October I noted that I entered politics to make a difference—from fighting school closures to working with communities on energy projects and community facilities. We live in tumultuous times, but we mustn’t lose focus on what is at stake. Each of us needs to commit all our energy to transform our communities and transforming our nation. That’s what I intend to do as Plaid Cymru’s candidate in Preseli, and it is what I would do if I had the privilege of representing our constituency.

At a time when politics seem to be toxic, Plaid Cymru does offer hope and trust to the people of Pembrokeshire and Wales, with recent polls showing they are the most trusted party to represent Welsh values in Westminster. I will also represent the values of the people of Pembrokeshire.

THOMAS HUGHES

The last few weeks has seen a largely Presidential style campaign in which television has largely concentrated on Boris and Jeremy. The other parties have largely been forgotten, including the Liberal Democrats and it has been difficult to get our message heard.

I am a passionate and proud Remainer. The PM tells us that a vote for the Conservatives “Will Get Brexit Done”. But we all know that leaving on 31st January 2020 is not the end of the Brexit saga. It is the start of years of negotiations and uncertainty.

The UK was once one of the strongest growing economies in the G7 nations. Brexit has brought it to a near standstill as we have had over 3 years of dithering by the Conservative who have been in power for the last 9 years.

I grew up in Fishguard and was educated at Ysgol Bro Gwaun and then went to Aberystwyth University to study International Politics and Military History. The family home is in Fishguard and both my parents work as nurses for the NHS.

I was a member of the Fishguard Sea Cadets and I am currently an Army Reservist with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Welsh.

I have been a member of the Welsh Liberal Democrats for a few years now and I am a strong proponent of electoral reform. In this election, we have seen many talk of tactical voting. This is a strong reason for voting reform as First Past the Post has failed us and I strongly believe that we need a system where EVERY vote counts. You should be able to vote for the party or candidate in a system whereby a party gets a fairer share of seats that reflects the support it has.

As well as being opposed to leaving the EU, particularly because of its negative impact on agriculture, the NHS and the economy, I have strong concerns about the wellbeing of his community and of young people across Pembrokeshire.

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‘Reach out to friends and family’ says Council Leader

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THIS week’s update from Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council:

‘Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

‘I’d like to highlight that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘I’m very aware that the last 15 months has had a huge impact on our lives and, in some cases, our wellbeing.

‘Mental Health can be a hidden issue and we all need to be aware that some people may need some extra support.

‘On a personal level the lockdown restrictions have reminded me of the importance to talk to people and to ensure people are supported.

‘Supporting your friends and family can be as simple as a phone call to say hello. A quick hello can ensure people are ok and managing and can give someone a huge uplift.

“Our communities have done a fantastic job of supporting each other so please, Team Pembrokeshire, continue these efforts.

‘I urge you all to pick up the phone and say hello to your friends and family, as we all need to play our role in everyone’s wellbeing – talking about issues does make a difference.

‘If you are suffering from Mental Health or general wellbeing issues please reach out, do not struggle on your own, your friends and family can help and make a difference.

‘Please also take the opportunity to also view the website at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week which has much more information and support.

‘I now want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in last week’s elections.

‘Elections take a phenomenal amount of organisation at the best of times but even more so in a pandemic situation.

‘To all those who ensured the smooth running of the elections process, thank you.

‘Congratulations to all the successful candidates and I look forward to working with them to further improve the lives of Pembrokeshire people.

‘We have now had further updates from Welsh Government and the next phase of the unlocking road map has been unveiled.

‘From Monday, 17th May, indoor hospitality can re-open.

‘Up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants.

‘We have so many fantastic hospitality venues in Pembrokeshire who we know will be giving their customers a big welcome after so long away.

‘The opening of indoor hospitality will be a major landmark in our emergence from the pandemic and towards recovery.

‘While out and about please remember social distancing rules are still in pace, consider your actions on others, remember your footprint has an impact on our communities, so please tread lightly.

‘When you go home, leave with a smile – enjoy your days out, enjoy seeing your families and most importantly enjoy our beautiful county and please support us in keeping Pembrokeshire special – play your part and please be responsible.

‘I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and I look forward to talking to you all again next week through my update.

‘Thank you everyone.’

You can keep up to date with all the Council’s press releases here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom

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Plan to rescue rare butterfly from extinction in Pembrokeshire

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is stepping up efforts to save the marsh fritillary butterfly, which was once widespread in Wales but is now close to extinction in Pembrokeshire.

Funded by the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, the new landscape scale strategy aims to improve the fortunes of the rare species, which relies on networks of flower rich marshy grasslands across the landscape.

Much of this habitat, which is home to the favourite food of its larva – the devil’s bit scabious (succisa pratensis), has been lost due to drainage, inappropriate tree planting and the neglect of traditional management of grasslands through light grazing with heavy animals such as cattle.

National Park AuthorityBiodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “The marsh fritillary in Pembrokeshire is now in a very precarious position. We think it has already become extinct in a number of areas in its former range and it has not been seen on the St Davids Peninsula since 2013. The population around Keeston and Tiers Cross is also now thought to be extinct.

“We must find a way to make space for wildlife in our landscape to ensure that nature can thrive for future generations. It is quite sobering to think this species could disappear from Pembrokeshire in my lifetime. We have a responsibility not to let this happen on our watch.

“Even in those areas where it remains we have seen dramatic declines, for example around Mychanchlogddu it used to be recorded from 32 sites, but since 2015 it has only been seen at seven sites.”

The National Park Authority has already stepped up its action to rescue the rare butterfly by assisting landowners to bring sites into suitable management through grant aid and providing suitable grazing animals through the Pembrokeshire Grazing Network and the Conserving the Park Scheme.

The new strategy will include mobilising Park Authority staff and volunteers to undertake targeted surveys at sites across the county, as well as helping landowners to manage their land in a sensitive way to help ensure the future of this rare butterfly.

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Santander turns away customers due to nationwide computer glitch

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CUSTOMERS of Santander in Haverfordwest were being turned away this morning by branch staff saying that they were unable to make transactions due to a computer glitch. It is understood that branches use the same computer systems which run the bank’s other systems.

Problems arouse last night when computer updates which the bank was implementing did not go to plan.

Some Herald readers contacted the news room to speak of their surprise that they were not able to access their funds.

One reader, who had gone to the bank to withdraw funds to pay rent on his home was told that there was nothing that could be done.

Website and App transactions are also being affected at the high street bank, and card transactions are being declined

The head of money at consumer magazine Which?, Gareth Shaw, said many customers will be stressed, “with people reporting that they have been unable to make online payments or in some cases purchase food in their local supermarket”.

“Customers can incur fines, penalties and fees when they’re not able to access their finances, so the bank must offer compensation to all those who have been impacted in this way”.

Santander told customers they can “access cash from other banks’ ATMs, at the Post Office and can get cashback where that’s available”.

A service status page on its website said planned maintenance was due to be performed on the Santander mobile banking app overnight on Friday. It is not known whether this prompted Saturday’s problems.

On Twitter, a Santander spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that a technical problem is affecting our services, our teams are working hard to fix it.

“You can access cash from other banks’ ATMs. Please check back here for further updates.”

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