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Boris Johnson apologises over latest No.10 party revelations saying it was ‘work event’

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THE PRIME MINISTER says he thought party in March was a ‘work event’ but concedes he should have stopped the gathering on May 20, 2020.

In Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday (Jan 12), he apologised to the public and said that “I wish that things had been done differently on that night.”

But Boris Johnson said that Labour will have to wait for the outcome of an inquiry to know the exact details of what happened that night.

Labour Leader, Keir Starmer said Matt Hancock resigned when he broke the rules, and Allegra Stratton resigned for laughing about rule breaking. Why does the PM think the rules don’t apply to him. Boris Johnson says that is not what he said.

Starmer said the PM originally said he had been assured there were no parties. Then the video landed, and he pretended he was sickened by the parties. Now it turns out he was at the parties. Starmer added that it was his opinion that the public think he is “lying through his teeth”.

Tory MPs objected, on the grounds that MPs should not accuse each other of lying. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, defended Starmer, saying he is talking about what the public think.

Johnson said he does not accept that. He added a laywer should wait for the facts.

Keir Starmer said that he spoke last night to a woman, Hannah, whose father died last May. She met Johnson last year, and Johnson told her that he had done everything possible to protect her dad. Hannah now knows her father’s death certificate was signed on the day of the party. Does the PM understand how she feels?

Johnson said he understands how she feels. He wanted to apologise. But the government has been doing what it can to protect people. It has the most tested population in Europe. And it has had the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and one of the fastest in the world. Apologising again, the PM said: “Whatever mistakes have been made on my watch, for which I apologise, that is the work that has been going on in Dowing Street.”

Simon Hart MP: We have to get to the bottom of this

Simon Hart, the Welsh Secretary, and MP for South Pembrokeshire and West Carmarthenshire, has become the first cabinet minister to publicly express concerns about the latest partygate revelations.  Simon Hart said this morning: “We’re in the middle of an investigation, that was set up by the PM to get to the bottom and to get to the truth about what was reasonable at the time and what wasn’t. It’s frustrating to have to rely on the investigation and we must be careful to not pre-judge that or what the PM will say in a few minutes’ time.

“The one thing I’m not going to do is make light of something that is unquestionably something of a significant public concern.

“I don’t live on a different planet. The frustration and the hurt and indignation and the incredulity that emerging stories like this produce. I’ve got, like everyone, family and friends asking me these questions. We have to get to the bottom of this.

“Judgment will need to be made about what happens next.”

There is some excellent detail about the No 10 party on 20 May 2020 in the Times today. The paper reports that Martin Reynolds, who sent out the email invitation to around 100 staff as the PM’s principal private secretary, became “panicky” in advance of the event, because staff were concerned it was against the rules, but decided cancelling the event would make things worse. The paper reports: “That afternoon, staff began preparations. A row of tables was set up on one side of the garden to act as a bar. In the garden itself more tables were set up in a layout to encourage people to observe social-distancing rules.

“Officials and advisers began arriving shortly after 6pm. While many stayed away, about 40 came. Many took up Reynolds’ suggestion in his email that they should “BYOB” — bring your own booze — taking a trip to the Tesco Express next to Westminster station. The drinks table was well stocked with gin, rosé, red wine and white wine, and guests began to arrive and mingle.

“Two sources said that the prime minister attended, with one saying he was “wandering round gladhanding people”. His fiancée Carrie Symonds, whom he married last year, also attended and was said to have been drinking with Henry Newman, then an adviser to Michael Gove and now a senior figure in No 10.

“The Times has been told that one senior official at the event joked about the risk of surveillance by drones, which was viewed as a tacit admission that the rules were being breached.”

Police in England issued 118,419 fines for breaking lockdown rules between 27 March 2020 and 17 October last year. That included 800 fines in the week when the No 10 party was held on 20 May 2020.

In London 17,745 fines were issued between March 2020 and October last year, including 113 for holding illegal gatherings of more than 30 people.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, said: “Thousands of Londoners have been fined for flouting lockdown rules during the pandemic. It would be double standards of the worst kind for the police to turn a blind eye when those in No 10 have done the same.”

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New McDonald’s restaurant to be built in Milford Haven if planning approved

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MC DONALD’S will be coming to Milford Haven if plans are passed by local councillors. Planning applications have been submitted this month by the fast food giant to open a new drive-thru style branch at Haven Heads Business Park.

Currently Milfordians who are hungry for a Big Mac and fries have to drive to Haverfordwest or Pembroke Dock.

The plans require the existing Unit G – next to Hakin Bridge – to be demolished and a new building to be constructed.

From the plans submitted we can see that – if approved – the restaurant will look like the computer image below.

How the Milford Haven Branch will look

The fast food giant has over 1300 branches in the UK, with Birmingham Liverpool and Glasgow having the most outlets with 17 stores each per city. Mc Donalds has over 136,000 staff or ‘crew members’ as they call them in the UK.

Location for the proposed McDonald’s Drive Thru (Google Streetview)
Plans for new Mc Donalds are on the PCC website
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Employment figures show ‘labour market is strong’ says local MP Stephen Crabb

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FIGURES published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics show that unemployment is falling across the country while the number of unfilled job vacancies continues to increase.

The UK unemployment rate for January to March 2022 decreased by 0.3% on the quarter to 3.7%. The number of job vacancies has also increased nationally with 1.295 million job vacancies on average across February to April 2022, up from 1.261 million in the previous quarter. For the first time ever, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies. 

In Preseli Pembrokeshire, the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits aged 16-64 has decreased by 37% from 2,316 to 1,445 in a year, as more people take advantage of the growing number of job opportunities locally. Those claiming unemployment related benefits in Preseli Pembrokeshire remains lower than that of the national average at 3.2% compared with 4%.

But figures published today show that prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years with inflation at 9%. The rate is expected to sustain and is on course to continue to increase over the course of the year. Mr Crabb has consistently spoken out to protect those on the lowest incomes, calling on the Government to offer further support to help ease the soaring cost of living.

Commenting on the latest figures, Mr Crabb told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We know that the pandemic has put a strain on the labour market, and I have been told by local businesses that staffing and recruitment has been a cause for concern. But these employment figures are extremely positive for Pembrokeshire, and show that the labour market is strong”

“The local job centre does a tremendous job at helping to fill vacancies through providing a tailored recruitment service for local employers. It is great to hear and see that people are making use of these services and seeking work”

“With the summer tourist season looming, no doubt local tourism and hospitality businesses in Pembrokeshire will continue to see an increase in the uptake of work”

“However, these positive figures sit in the backdrop of the cost of living crisis. Having recently met with Citizens Advice locally, and received many emails from worried constituents, I am acutely aware of the financial pressures that so many are facing and the need for some easing of the burden”

“I have been consistent in my calls for the Government to offer further support to those on low and middle incomes. With the latest inflation figures released today, this problem is only set to get worse and it is clear that without targeted action many will fall into real hardship and debt”

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Pembroke Dock: Five years in jail for Asda cashpoint robbery

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been jailed for five years for robbing a woman at knifepoint at the cashpoint at Asda on April 15.

Kieran Steven Brumby, 36, held a knife to the woman’s throat and demanded she hand over the £160 she was withdrawing from the cash machine.

He admitted the charge of robbery, and further pleaded guilty to charges of both possessing a knife in a public place and possessing 0.9g of cocaine.

Caged: Kieran Steven Brumby

Those in the court watched intently, as shocking CCTV footage was played, of the defendant holding a large kitchen knife against the victim’s throat.

When police arrested Brumby, who lives at Water Street, that evening, he denied that he was the person show in the CCTV footage. But at Swansea Crown Court on Monday (May 16) he pleaded guilty as charged.

The victim had stopped at the cash point to withdraw money before meet friends in Haverfordwest.

Brumby held the knife to her throat saying: “‘Give me the money”.

In a victim impact statement the woman said that she was suffering from sleepless nights, palpitations and nightmares about being attacked.

She said: “I feel depressed and anxious and constantly feel like somebody is behind me. I am checking over my shoulder every five minutes. If I leave the house feelings of panic rise.”

Brumby has previous conviction for possessing a shotgun without a certificate in 2009 and for breaching community orders.

Jon Tarrant, defending barrister, said his client’s long-term partner had walked out on him last year and that he had lost his employment and his home – affecting his client’s mental health.

“He can provide no explanation for his actions on this day,” said Mr Tarrant.

“He offers his profound apologies not only to the court but to his victim. He has profound regret and deep remorse for what he has done.”

Judge Geraint Walters said: “The victim impact statement shows the profound effect that your offending has had on your victim. A woman alone out in a, relatively speaking, remote location given the time of day.

“The effect of your offending in this case seems capable of being described as significant if not serious.

“I am not in doubt that this was to do with your cocaine habit.”
Judge Walters handed down a five-year sentence for the robbery, with a 12-month sentence for possession of the knife and a one-month sentence for cocaine possession to run concurrently.

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