Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Politics

Pembrokeshire has chosen change, and now it’s time to deliver it

Published

on

PEMBROKESHIRE has chosen change, and now it’s time to deliver it, Mid and South Pembrokeshire’s new Labour MP has said after Conservative Stephen Crabb’s 19 years as an MP in the county ended on July 4.

The new seat has parts of the former Preseli Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire West and South Pembrokeshire; seats now no more after boundary changes.

They have both been held by Conservatives for many years; 2005 in the case of Preseli Pembrokeshire and 2010 in Carmarthenshire West and South Pembrokeshire, with the victories of Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart respectively.

Polls had predicted the new seat would be gained by Labour, with percentage figures of votes for candidate Henry Tufnell ranging from 33 per cent to as high as 50 per cent.

At the count held at Haverfordwest High School, Labour’s Henry Tufnell gained the new seat, with 16,505 votes to Conservative Stephen Crabb’s 14,627, with Reform’s Stuart Marchant taking third place with 7,828 votes.

Speaking after being elected as Mid and South Pembrokeshire’s new MP, Labour’s Henry Tufnell said: “It’s a huge honour and a privilege to be elected as MP for Mid and South Pembrokeshire and I thank the people of Pembrokeshire for putting their faith in me and the Labour party.

“It’s truly an honour to be elected as representative for the people of Pembrokeshire; to have your faith in me and the Labour party for a fresh start for our county. There’s so much opportunity for us, whether energy, agriculture or tourism, we need these industries to provide that growth in our economy.

“Pembrokeshire has chosen change tonight and it’s now time to deliver it.”

After his defeat, having represented parts of the county for 19 years , previously as MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Mr Crabb said: “Congratulations to Henry Tufnell and his team on their victory in Mid & South Pembrokeshire last night. I wish him the very best as he takes on the enormous privilege of representing this county at Westminster.

“A huge thanks to my campaign team who have been at my side throughout this tough campaign. I am incredibly grateful to have had such a fabulous group of Pembrokeshire people working with me over the last six weeks.

“It’s been a huge honour to represent my home constituency as Member of Parliament over the last 19 years. Every day has been an enormous privilege.

“Thank you to everyone in Pembrokeshire who has given me encouragement and support along the way.”

One of those who paid tribute to Mr Crabb was Conservative Senedd Member, and former Pembrokeshire journalist for the Pembrokeshire Herald and Western Telegraph, Sam Kurtz.

“I owe Stephen Crabb a lot. Maybe more than he realises. He gave me a job in his office when I was a young newspaper reporter, in what I call the best ‘apprenticeship’ I could have ever asked for.

“Working for and alongside him, I’ve seen a side that many haven’t. The empathy shown during advice surgeries, then tenacity in fighting for constituents facing an injustice, and a resilience, energy and focus on doing what he thought was best for our county.

“Please also spare a thought to for all the staff members, who have lost their jobs if their bosses have not kept their seats. It really is brutal.”

In the rhetorical question on many people’s lips, Mr Kurtz mused: “Where do we go next as a party? Who are we? How do we take this beating from the British public and come back better, representing and delivering on their hopes and ambitions, while working to alleviate their fears and frustrations?

“There’ll be time for that, and I’ll want to make sure I’m in the centre of how my party, our party, can dust itself off and tend to its bloody nose before rolling up our sleeves and getting back to being fighting fit once again.”

Election results for Mid and South Pembrokeshire:

  • Henry Tufnell (Labour): 16,505
  • Stephen Crabb (Conservative): 14,627
  • Stuart Marchant (Reform): 7,828
  • Cris Tomos (Plaid Cymru): 2,962
  • Alistair Cameron (Liberal Democrat): 2,372
  • James Purchase (Green Party): 1,654
  • Vusi Siphika (Independent): 427
  • Hanna Andersen (Women’s Equality Party): 254

Politics

Complaints against Senedd members leap by 167%

Published

on

THE STANDARDS commissioner received 190 complaints against Senedd members in 2023/24 – an annual increase of more than 167% and 331% over two years.

Douglas Bain, who investigates complaints against misbehaving members, said the number of complaints received is the highest since 2020/21.

In his 2023/24 report, which was published this week, Mr Bain put the avalanche partly down to two unnamed Senedd members – who were subject to 58 complaints between them.

He added that one member of the public made a further 26 complaints.

“Nonetheless, it is clear that even without these individual contributions there was a very significant increase,” he warned.

“I do not believe that this increase in the number of complaints received indicates any reduction in the generally high standard of conduct of Members of the Senedd.”

Mr Bain, who was appointed in 2021 after a stint as acting commissioner, pointed out that the number of inadmissible complaints was the highest in the past four years at 84.

He wrote: “On one view, the increase in the number of complaints is to be welcomed as demonstrating a greater public interest in and closer scrutiny of the work and conduct of MSs. That public scrutiny plays an important part in our democratic process.”

Mr Bain received 53 complaints relating to conduct on social media, three on misuse of resources, 17 on the standard of services and 24 on the register of interests.

The commissioner also dealt with 29 complaints on ministerial conduct or behaviour in plenary with 64 complaints classified as “other”.

Mr Bain, who is based in Northern Ireland, said: “Comments made by Members on social media were … by far the most common subject for complaints.”

The commissioner said many were inadmissible but he urged Senedd members to take great care when posting, sharing or liking anything on social media.

He told the Senedd a high proportion of his time was taken up by a complaint against Rhys ab Owen and grievances surrounding the change to a 20mph default speed limit.

Mr ab Owen, who sits as an independent, was given a 42-day suspension in March for breaching the code of conduct by bringing the Senedd into disrepute.

The commissioner said he received a complaint that a “very drunk” Mr ab Owen twice called a woman a bitch after leaving the Wetherspoons in Cardiff Bay on June 30, 2021.

Mr Bain said the complainant said the former Plaid Cymru MS placed his hand on her thigh near her groin in the back of a taxi – an allegation Mr ab Owen denied.

He wrote that Mr ab Owen raised concerns about the fairness of the complaints process, claiming the investigation contravened his human rights.

Mr Bain said he received 30 complaints relating to the 20mph default speed limit, evenly split between people opposed to the new limit and those in favour.

The standards commissioner cleared Andrew RT Davies – leader of the Tory group in the Senedd – of breaching the code of conduct for describing 20mph as a “blanket” policy.

He was satisfied that the “blanket” description was “imprecise and inaccurate” but he concluded that that is not synonymous with being untruthful.

Calling for more powers, Mr Bain raised concern about the rules governing the standards commissioner which have not been updated in 15 years.

“During that period a number of deficiencies have been identified,” he wrote. “Amongst the most important of these is the absence of a provision empowering the commissioner to initiate an investigation without the need for a complaint.”

He warned this renders rules around lobbying the commissioner and making frivolous, vexatious or manifestly unfounded complaints of little value.

Mr Bain said: “Whilst I appreciate the pressures on Senedd time, I do not consider that reform of the measure should remain on the ‘back burner’.”

In the annual report, the total cost of the standard’s commissioner’s office was £133,992 in 2023/24 – a near-25% increase on 2021/22.

Continue Reading

Community

Petitions against Pembrokeshire day care centre closures to be discussed

Published

on

TWO PETITIONS calling on Pembrokeshire County Council to reverse its decision to close day care centres in Pembroke Dock, Crymych and Narberth are to be heard at County Hall later this week.

The two petitions, on the council’s own e-petitions webpage, drew nearly 3,400 signatures between them.

Earlier this year, senior councillors backed plans to close two of the county’s centres for older adults and those with learning disabilities, Portfield SAC, Haverfordwest, and Avenue SAC, Tenby; service users moving to other centres in the county.

The county council is currently changing care provision for older adults and those with learning disabilities, and fears have been raised recently that Pembroke Dock’s Anchorage day care centre is to close.

A series of engagement events have taken place at The Anchorage recently, outlining the reasons and the options in continued service.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “One young woman who attends ran out of the first meeting sobbing when she was told it was going to close.

“Another, at the second meeting, tried to address the meeting, but was so choked up at the thought of not seeing her friends any more she could hardly speak.”

It now is feared Narberth’s Lee Davies Day Care Centre and Crymych’s Bro Preseli Day Centre could also close, with concerns it is due solely to budgetary reasons.

An e-petition on the council’s own website, by John Llewellyn of Living Memory Group, entitled against the closure of the Lee Davies and Bro Preseli day care centres.

The two petitions, which have now both closed, attracted 1,701 and 1,675 signatures respectively.

As they have both met the threshold for debate at council, they will both be heard at the July 18 meeting of full council.

Peter Welsh, in his petition for Pembroke Dock’s The Anchorage, says: “We call on Pembrokeshire County Council to reverse its decision to close the Anchorage Social Activity Centre based in Pembroke Dock as part of the council’s reduction in services being imposed following the recent budget approval.”

Mr Llewellyn’s petition for the Lee Davies and Bro Preseli day care centres reads: “We call on Pembrokeshire County Council to Review the closure of the Lee Davies Day Care Centre at Bloomfield’s and the Bro Preseli Day Centre at Crymych.

“Staff at both Day Care Centres were informed in Mid-March that both facilities would be closing due to PCC budget cuts. Both centres are an essential outlet for the well-being of the attendees and their families.”

Continue Reading

Politics

Council slammed for pension funds invested in companies connected with Israel

Published

on

A CALL is to be made for Pembrokeshire County Council to end its involvement in a pension fund that has invested millions with companies connected with Israel, which objectors say makes the authority “complicit in the genocide in Gaza”.

At the July 18 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, two related, submitted, questions will be asked by members of the public.

Both are asking for the council to divest its involvement in the local government pension scheme the Dyfed pension fund, which they say has more than £60m invested in companies connected with Israel.

In a question which includes a statement written by Palestine Solidarity Campaign with full details, Suzanne Radford-Smith will ask: “I am writing to draw attention to the fact that Dyfed pension fund has £64m invested in companies that are connected with Israel and to ask that Dyfed pension fund divests from these companies.

“Many of these companies are making arms and weapons being used by the Israeli army in the war on Palestine which makes them complicit in the genocide in Gaza.

“I believe this makes PCC also complicit in that genocide.

“Will Pembrokeshire County Council divest the pension fund from these companies?”

A similar question by Marjorie Hawkins will ask: “I receive a pension from Dyfed Pension Fund and have recently found out that Dyfed pension fund has £64m invested in companies that are connected with Israel.

“Many of these companies are making arms and weapons being used by the Israeli army in the war on Palestine which makes them complicit in the genocide in Gaza.

“I am very dismayed to find out this information and feel that this makes PCC (as one of the county councils in Dyfed Pension Fund) also complicit in that genocide.

“I spent over 10 years working as a social worker in Pembrokeshire. 10 years before this I was a social worker in Swansea and also worked for the NHS previously. I chose to work in jobs that were not involved in making profits or exploiting other people. I am very upset and outraged to find that the pension I receive is complicit in a genocide that is ongoing and we witness daily.

“Will Pembrokeshire County Council divest the pension fund from such companies that are complicit in this genocide?”

Both questions, and their call, will be heard at the full meeting of Pembrokeshire County council today (July 18).

Continue Reading

Health14 hours ago

No improvement in cancer waiting times despite Welsh Govt plan

TWO years after the Welsh Government unveiled its ambitious plan to overhaul cancer care and reduce waiting times, the latest...

News1 day ago

Former school devastated by fire revealed as £2m drug factory just weeks ago

A SIGNFICANT blaze that led to the collapse of the roof of a former primary school in west Wales occurred...

Crime1 day ago

Thai woman accused of killing son in appears in court

A THAI woman accused of killing her seven-year-old son has made a court appearance. Papaipit Linse, 43, of Upper Market...

Crime1 day ago

Police investigate early hours hit and run in Haverfordwest

POLICE in Haverfordwest are investigating a road traffic collision which occurred at about 2.00am in the morning on Wednesday (Jul...

Charity2 days ago

King’s speech highlights focus on economic growth and defence

ON WEDNESDAY (Jul 17), the King delivered his Speech, outlining the government’s priorities for the coming year. Central to the...

Crime2 days ago

Haverfordwest man denies sexual assaults on boys under nine

A 41-YEAR-OLD Haverfordwest man has appeared before magistrates charged with sexually assaulting a boy under 13 on at least 44...

News3 days ago

First Minister quits after less than four months in job

FIRST MINISTER Vaughan Gething has announced his resignation. Gething did not offer any apologies for the events of the past...

News3 days ago

LIVE – Welsh Government ministers quit and call for First Minister to go

FOUR senior ministers of the Welsh Government have dramatically tendered their resignations in a bold protest against the leadership of...

Crime3 days ago

Ex-mayor gets suspended sentence for child images offences

A FORMER mayor of Pembroke Dock has been given a suspended jail sentence for the possession and distribution of indecent...

Community5 days ago

Sumatran tiger cub named Zaza is first ever born in a Welsh zoo

MANOR WILDLIFE PARK said this week that it is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran tiger cub, named...

Popular This Week