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Neil Hamilton speaks out against UK asylum policy at Penally Camp protest

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CONTROVERSIAL politician and UKIP leader for Wales, Neil Hamilton, was in Penally on Saturday (Oct 10) to add his voice to the growing number of politicians and community leaders who think that former MOD training centre is a wholly inadequate location for emergency accommodation for asylum seekers.

But Hamilton went further, saying “We have no idea how many illegal immigrants there are in this country” and that “The Home Office doesn’t have a clue.”

His attendance in his capacity as a member of the Welsh Assembly didn’t go down well with some, with local Plaid Cymru leader Michael Williams and some local residents taking to social media to ask him to stay away.

Williams tweeted: “I note that you intend visiting [Penally]. I urge you to keep away as your visit will not do other than cause further concerns for local residents. In reply Neil Hamilton tweeted: “The local Plaid council leader doesn’t think Tenby locals have any concerns worth listening to and has warned me away from speaking to my constituents. No wonder the people of Penally feel forgotten.

Nevertheless, he did arrive on Saturday morning and addressed small crowd of anti-asylum seeker protestors with a megaphone.

He said: “I’m here this morning to say this is completely an unsuitable site to house these people, and anyway, none of these people have a legal right to be here in the United Kingdom.”

His view is at odds with the actual legal position, which is all of the asylum seekers in the camp completely lawfully, whilst their asylum claims are being processed.

With police units keeping a eye over proceedings, he went on to say: “They’ve all come from a safe country which is France we all know what that as they came across The Chanel on the small boats.”
“Another small party arrived yesterday we have a government that has no interest in protecting our borders and we are spending a billion pounds a year funding the asylum and refugee system – which is completely broken. “
“When they’ve had their appeals turned down the deportation orders are made, but 90% of them disappear.
“We have no idea how many illegal immigrants there are in this country – the Home Office doesn’t have a clue.”
“Do not believe the words of the Home Secretary, look at her actions …the action we see behind us.
“These people have no connection with this area at all and are being isolated, it’s the people of Tenby and Penally that are having to pay the price of the collapse of the immigration system.”

He added: “We know that The Government has no interest in the immigration system because we have six million immigrants which have come to Britain in the last 10 years.
“Three million have how left the country so we have added three million to the population of the United Kingdom – that’s a city the size of Swansea and every single year that they’ve added to our population.
“This is going to continue indefinitely unless we have a government that has a spine to do something about it
“So, I will continue to give you all my support to people of Tenby, Penally, Pembrokeshire and indeed the United Kingdom – because there are no public demands what we are seeing around us today.
“And we have a government that are not representative of the people of this country, and that goes for Cardiff as well!”

In an official statement last month, when he first heard about the news regards Penally, Neil Hamilton said: “The UK Government has given up trying to control illegal immigration and bogus asylum-seekers. Penally is about to pay the price.

“The useless Tories have totally lost control of illegal immigration. The Border Agency is a farce, the Home Office has no idea how many illegal migrants are in the UK, and bogus asylum seekers whose appeals have failed are rarely deported.

“These people are not asylum-seekers but economic migrants. The law says asylum seekers must seek refuge in the first safe country they enter. They all come here from other EU countries, so they are not entitled to asylum in the UK. They should be sent back across the Channel not dumped in Penally.

“Penally with only 850 inhabitants is about to have 250 young male migrants dumped on them and allowed to roam free.

“The Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru voted in the Senedd to make Wales a ‘Nation of Sanctuary’ open to all-comers. Conservatives talk tough about immigration but do nothing – 3,000,000 migrants have been added to the UK population since 2010.

“The people of Penally did not vote for mass immigration or migrant camps on their doorstep. None of us voted to add a city the size of Cardiff to the UK every year by mass immigration.

“Despite having the Secretary of State for Wales as the local MP, the UK Government puts out the welcome mat for Penally’s 250 new, diverse inhabitants. Labour, Lib-Dems and Plaid Cymru welcome migrants with open arms and think we should take even more. Only UKIP will put a stop to this scandalous abuse.

“The UK Government needs to get a grip and stop bogus asylum seekers now. But don’t hold your breath!”

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Mark Drakeford says: ‘Thank you Wales for going red’

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LABOUR is staying in power in Wales after matching its best-ever Senedd election result. It won exactly half of the 60 seats in the Welsh Parliament with all results now declared

Labour has 30 seats, with the Conservatives on 16, Plaid Cymru on 13 and the Liberal Democrats one.
Mark Drakeford thanked Wales for “going red” and has vowed to be “radical” and “ambitious” in government, as Labour looks to solidify its leadership in Wales.

Labour’s Vaughan Gething, health minister in the Welsh government, told the media that the party didn’t “have to look at a formal coalition” because they had done so well.

“We do, however, have to talk to other groups within the Senedd,” he said.

Mr Gething said Labour had a “strong mandate to govern” with 30 of the Senedd’s 60 seats.

The Wales Green Party failed to win a seat in the Senedd elections but they say they recorded their highest-ever result in Wales. Leader Anthony Slaughter said the “results demonstrate the appetite for change” across Wales.

A very happy Mark Drakeford on Saturday, May 8 (Photo Welsh Labour/Twitter)

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, said: “We seem to be getting votes from all of the parties and support on that regional list as people increase their knowledge of the voting system.”

Adam Price, who held Carmarthen East and Dinefwr with a reduced majority, said he would not stand down as Plaid Cymru leader.

Despite no gains, Mr Price said the party had increased its share of the vote and its stance on independence had been a “net positive”.

“I’m not walking away from anything, because this is the moment when Wales needs leadership,” he said.

“This is a historic challenge, because of the way that the politics is moving in this island, but it’s also a historic opportunity for us.

On the campaign trail, Plaid leader Adam Price (Pic Plaid Cymru)

“We can move our nation forward and I’m looking forward to playing my part, it’s not something that anyone can do on their own.

“I have a role to play, we all have a role to play and that’s what’s exciting about politics at the moment. Wales is on the move Wales is on the march. I’m going to be part of that.”

Later, on social media, Adam Price said: ” I extend my congratulations to Mark Drakeford on securing a mandate to lead the next government. Although disappointed not to be returning more Members to the Senedd, I am proud that we ran a positive campaign based on a transformational programme.

“Our Senedd group will bring renewed energy and fresh ideas and I look forward to working with all my colleagues as we continue to build the case for independence. We will be a constructive but forensic opposition as we enter a crucial period of pandemic recovery.

“However, the sixth Senedd will be poorer without one of Wales’s most remarkable politicians. No one has given more to the party or to her community than Leanne Wood – an inspiring role model for so many.

“Leanne’s commitment to the Rhondda is unparalleled and I know she will continue to make an important contribution to the future of our nation and the pursuit of social justice which always has and always will drive her politics.

“Westminster’s attack on devolution is only just beginning and Wales needs a plan – that plan must focus on taking our own future into our own hands so we can build a nation that is fair and free.

TORYS CLAIM BEST RESULT EVER

The Welsh Conservatives say that they have secured the party’s best ever result in a Senedd election, winning 16 seats in the Welsh Parliament.

In a statement to the press the party said: “Today’s final election results have seen the Welsh Conservatives secure two regional list seats in both South Wales Central and South Wales East.

“Welsh Conservatives polled 289,802 votes (share up 5.0) across 40 constituencies – 26.1% of the vote – winning eight seats including gains in both the Vale of Clwyd and Brecon and Radnorshire.

“On the five regional lists, Welsh Conservatives secured 278,560 votes (share up 6.3), winning eight seats. The result will see the Senedd return its first ever female from a BAME background, with Welsh Conservatives’ Natasha Asghar making history with election in South Wales East.

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies with Joel Williams on election day (Pic RT Davies/Twitter)

Commenting, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said: “Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to our outstanding set of Welsh Conservative candidates, activists and staff who’ve worked incredibly hard throughout this campaign and secured the party’s best ever Senedd result.

“The team has gone above and beyond and deserve great credit for the positive campaign we’ve run right across Wales, and I am thrilled to see Natasha Asghar make history in South Wales East by becoming the first female from a BAME background to be elected to the Senedd.

Newly elected Conservative member of Senedd, Sam Kurtz, talking to BBC reporter Aled Scourfield (Pic J Coles/Herald)

“As a party we are also delighted to have secured constituency seats in the Vale of Clwyd and Brecon and Radnorshire, and increased seats on the regional lists, resulting in our highest ever representation in the Senedd with 16 members.

“It’s been an unconventional campaign and it’s clear incumbency and continuity has played a significant part. To that end, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Mark Drakeford and Welsh Labour on a successful campaign.

“The election has been fought in good spirit by political parties in Wales and I would like to pay a final word of thanks to the many officials across the country who’ve allowed this election to take place in a safe and effective manner.”

IMPACT OF PANDEMIC

Ian Price, director of CBI Wales, congratulated Labour. He said: “This is a critical time for the Welsh economy and the new parliament must have a laser-like focus on rebuilding from the devastating impact of the pandemic,” he said.
“That means all parties pulling together and working with business to protect jobs, rebuild livelihoods and create a fair and sustainable recovery that addresses the longstanding structural challenges our economy faces.”

Royal Town Planning Institute, largest professional body for town planners in the UK and Europe, commented on the election result saying: “The Welsh Labour Manifesto meets many of the issues raised by the RTPI, including tackling climate action, investing in public transport and active travel, and the delivery of quality affordable homes, including a focus on strengthening Welsh language communities.

“The manifesto commits to strengthening the autonomy and effectiveness of local government to make them more successful in delivering services. We have highlighted the need to invest in planning services to enable the delivery of Welsh Labour’s priorities.”

LABOUR “RESILIENT”

Speaking to the BBC, political commentator Prof Roger Awan-Scully said: “I think it’s been an astonishingly resilient performance by the Welsh Labour Party, amidst disasters for Labour elsewhere in the UK.

“The Conservatives are also performing strongly, but not quite bringing it home in terms of the number of constituency victories that they might have expected.

“For Plaid Cymru I think this has to be said to be a deeply disappointing election.”

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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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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