Books and personal papers belonging to former Gower MP David Rhys Grenfell have been returned to Gower by its current MP, Tonia Antoniazzi, after being found in a charity shop in Carmarthen.
Tonia’s office was contacted after staff at the Tŷ Hafan shop in Greyfriers, Carmarthen spotted that the contents of a suitcase donated to the charity related to the man who represented Gower for 37 years and was ‘Father’ of the House of Commons when he retired in 1959.
Labour Councillor Robert Smith, who has been researching the life of D. R. Grenfell, accompanied Tonia to collect the materials said ‘D. R. Grenfell is one of the forgotten figures of the Welsh Labour movement and deserves far greater recognition for his contribution to Welsh life and for his work internationally’.
The papers include the report of the Royal Commission on Safety in the Mines on which DR served during the mid-1930s. Robert says ‘The disaster at Gresford colliery near Wrexham in 1934 in which 266 men were killed led to the appointment of a Royal Commission to examine what changes were needed to the way mines were regulated.
The legislation that existed at the time had been passed in 1911 and needed to be updated to take account of changes in the way the mines were worked because of mechanisation and other developments in the intervening years.
DR was a member of the Commission and was one of the ones who drafted the report. Although the recommendations were not adopted immediately they formed the basis of the regulations that governed the mining industry in the second half of the twentieth century’.
Robert went on ‘Also of interest is the material which illustrates D.R.’s internationalism. He helped refugees from Austria and Spain in the 1930s and spent several weeks in Prague in the autumn of 1938 -80 years this month in fact- helping thousands refugees who were wanted by the Nazis to escape to Britain’.
Tonia said “This is a fascinating find a real piece of history which tells us more about a forgotten giant of the Labour movement”
“D.R. Grenfell helped shape modern Britain and these papers will give us a renewed insight into his political work.”
While reflecting on the return to Parliament after what has been a bruising few months in politics, I must express that I am longing for a change, not just in politics but in the Labour Party.
In the early hours of Friday 13th December, I was delighted to win Gower with a majority of just over 1,800 as a Labour Party candidate. A marginal seat since 2015, I was not going to let Gower go without a fight. My work always is and always has been a team effort. We’re not perfect, I’m not perfect but I pride myself on my desire and that of the team around me, to make people’s lives better. We’ve done that thanks to the belief and support of the local Welsh Labour members and the many volunteers who supported me to keep Gower red.
Politics is tough, but it shouldn’t be so brutal. At every level, the correct team balance is the fundamental component to achieving success. Over the festive period there has been a fair amount of discussion regarding why Labour lost the General Election, and not all that I’ve read has been a fair reflection or interpretation of the events of December 12th. We need to be honest with ourselves as we analyse where we went wrong. The Labour Party needs to rebuild its broken connection with voters, creating an authentic vision for the future of our UK nations.
I believe that everyone should have the potential to live happy, healthy and prosperous lives. Quite simply that’s because as a teacher for over 20 years, it was my raison d’être and it continues to be as a Parliamentarian. I will not stop putting the well-being of the people I represent above all else.
We’ve had nearly 10 years of Conservative government and I’ve seen first-hand the damage inflicted by the Tories on the most vulnerable in society. Winning the argument without winning Government will be stark consolation to families who find themselves using foodbanks for the first time, and there will be more of them, if the trend set by the Tories over the last 10 years is anything to go by.
We’ve lost four general elections in a row, and as a Party we are at a critical juncture. If we want to win again, we need to look outwards, not inwards, forwards not backwards. The sole reason to look back is to ask ourselves “what can we do to win back the voters who left us in 2017, 2015, and 2010, not just those who left us in December?”.
As for our next Labour Leader, it must be someone people can connect to, someone who can rebuild the bonds within our party and extend those bonds outward to the general public. I expect our next leader to give the membership a voice, connect with representatives in our devolved institutions and understand leadership is not a process of command and control, but one of empowerment. We are the party of devolution and our party needs to evolve to better reflect the needs of our local communities.
It might not come as a surprise to many of you that in my working life I have not always been the most passive member of staff. I’ve always challenged and critiqued those above and around me because I believed there is always the potential to improve, move forward and deliver better outcomes for those that we taught. However, I have found that being critical of leadership in the Labour Party is often met with disdain and comments such as “don’t forget you only got in on a Labour ticket”, as if I had joined some kind of playground faction who had to play by the rules or be brandished a traitor and called names. Well that isn’t how I work, it isn’t how I’ve worked before I became and MP, and it will never be me.
I am going to nominate someone who I believe will allow me to be a voice of challenge on behalf of my constituents, who will listen and respond, agree to disagree and look beyond any argument to create hope for the future. Now is the time to rebuild our relationship with the electorate across the whole of the UK, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.
We need a leader who is authentic, transparent, strong and approachable. An engaging, no nonsense communicator who will not be intimidated by the bullish blustering behaviour of Boris Johnson and his privileged ilk.
Let’s not make this an unpleasant back stabbing in-fight. Let’s make this about giving hope for the future, I for one will not participate in any mudslinging, it’s destructive to the Labour Party. “If you don’t like who I like then I don’t like you...” this is not progressive politics and I won’t play any part in it.
All candidates deserve due consideration, and I am proud to be nominating Jess Phillips as I wholeheartedly believe she is the right person for the job right now. If you don’t like that, then let’s agree to disagree and remember why many of us are in the Labour Party, because nobody is better than us and everyone matters. We must without fear nor favour speak truth to win power.
Tonia Antoniazzi is inviting everyone in Gower to get involved in UK Parliament Week and ‘have your say’ on the issues that matter to you most.
UK Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival taking place from 2-8 November, which aims to engage people, especially young people, from different backgrounds and communities, with the UK Parliament and empower them to get involved.
This is a great opportunity to be part of a thriving democracy, ask questions, think critically and engage with the UK Parliament. Schools, museums, libraries, faith communities and youth organisations representing every constituency across the United Kingdom have already signed up to be part of the conversation.
Tonia Antoniazzi said: “As member for Gower I welcome the involvement of people in Swansea during UK Parliament Week 2019. I am determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy, and I’m excited to see so many schools, uniform organisations and local groups taking part.”
In 2018, UK Parliament Week reached almost 1 million people, with more than 8,100 activities. This year’s UK Parliament Week festival is expected to be the largest ever with even more activities and people taking part.
David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said: “There are many exciting activities taking place for this year’s UK Parliament Week, with including those happening in Gower constituency.
“Schools, workplaces and community groups across Gower have a chance to have their say on the issues they care about most. UK Parliament Week is a great way find out more about the ways to be part of our thriving democracy, be it to vote, campaign or question their MP.”
Those who sign up for UK Parliament Week will be sent a free kit packed with resources and an activity booklet tailored for different organisation types.
Enter your favourite Gower local into the Parliamentary Pub of the Year competition***Nominations close on 30th September.
Nominations for this years Parliamentary Pub of the Year competition are now open.
If you’re a Gower constituent and you have an LPG gas tank at home, I would like to hear from you.
If you’ve had issues with your gas supplier or if you’d like to share your negative or positive experiences, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do get in touch!
Tonia Antoniazzi, MP for Gower, is encouraging local charities and community groups to apply for funding from a pot of over £3 million that has been raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Applications are open from Wednesday 31 July for two weeks until 14 August. A wide range of community organisations, from registered charities, to voluntary groups and social enterprises, are eligible to apply for grants of between £500 and £20,000.
The funding can be accessed through three different trusts and each trust supports projects focused on different themes. Groups are encouraged to apply to the trust that best fits their proposed project:
Over 300 groups were awarded grants earlier this year, with sports groups for military veterans, counselling support services for young carers and sensory gardens for people with dementia among some of the organisations that benefitted.
Tonia Antoniazzi, said: “There are countless organisations doing fantastic work across Gower. This is the perfect opportunity for them to take advantage of the funding available and expand the reach of an existing service, get a new project off the ground, or allow it to help extend an already successful initiative. I strongly encourage as many groups as possible to apply.”
Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, added: “It’s not just players who win with People’s Postcode Lottery - over £3 million in grants will have a tremendous impact on grass-roots groups across Britain.
“Between the three trusts, a huge array of projects is able to benefit and I would urge all groups to look at the funding guides and apply.”
A minimum of 32% from every People’s Postcode Lottery ticket goes directly to good causes. To date, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised over £450 million for more than 6,500 projects across Great Britain and internationally.
For more information, to view the funding guides and to apply please visit the trusts’ websites directly:
Pupils in Penyrheol School have started a campaign with Gower MP, Tonia Antoniazzi, to support families struggling with the increasing costs of buying an entirely new school uniform.
The campaign is asking pupils and parents at Penyrheol Comprehensive to recycle their old, but still wearable, school uniform for new and returning students.
Pupils at the school have expressed concerns that changes to the school’s uniform policy, including school-specific trousers, shorts, and skirts, could leave families struggling to meet the costs of purchasing an entirely new set new school uniform.
Throughout the summer, Penyrheol Comprehensive School will be open informally so that students can come in and speak to a member of staff about donating their school uniform. Donations can be delivered to the school throughout the summer between 8am and 2pm until the 21st of August.
There will also be a donation point open between 2pm and 4pm at Tonia Antoniazzi’s office at Ty Newydd Community Centre, 17 West Street, Gorseinon.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said, “No child should be singled out at school because they cannot afford the full uniform, and that’s why I’ll be helping those families that cannot afford them by helping them by getting some school uniform for free.”
“The school has a washing machine and I’ve been able to donate a tumble dryer, so the school can clean any donations and have them ready for distribution by the new term.”
Penyrheol Pupils Chloe Kennedy-McGregor, Sam Lovering, Kyle Lewis, and Kyle Harries, who have worked on the campaign said, “Many students are finding that some of the pieces of uniform have begun to rip, further increasing the amount of money parents or guardians are spending on uniform.”
“Not having school uniform can have negative effects on how much we learn in class. We want to help students who cannot afford the uniform to improve the work ethic of the school.”
Tonia Antoniazzi MP supported a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.
On Wednesday, 19 June, more than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country converged on Westminster Hall in Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. At the event, the MP for Gower spoke to guide dog owners about the lasting impact of these refusals.
It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs survey found that three out of four (76%) assistance dog owners had been turned away because of their dog.
Taxis and minicabs were the worst offenders – experienced by 73% of those reporting refusals in the last twelve months. Refusals at restaurants (54%), newsagents (42%) and high street shops (36%) were also common.
Guide Dogs are calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to be required to take disability equality training so they are aware of the rights of disabled passengers. Guide Dogs also supports changes to equality legislation to make action against businesses who refuse access easier.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said:
“It was disturbing to hear how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners. No one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog.
“I support Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign to tackle the ignorance that causes access refusals, and make sure businesses are held accountable when they occur.
Chris Theobald, Public Affairs Manager at Guide Dogs, said:
“The law is very clear that assistance dog owners have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local restaurant.
"Despite this, our survey shows assistance dog owners face refusals on a regular basis. When you rely on their guide dog to get around, businesses that refuse to allow your dog in are effectively slamming the door in your face.
“Businesses have a responsibility to make sure all their staff welcome assistance dog owners. That’s why we are calling for disability equality training as standard in sectors where refusals are common. We also support an overhaul of equality legislation so that businesses that refuse access face the full consequences of the law.”
 EHRC, Assistance Dogs: a guide for all businesses
 Guide Dogs survey of 421 assistance dog owners, April 2019
Do you have innovative ideas about policy and global change? Aged 19-35? LAST CALL to apply to British Council’s Future Leaders Connect Programme before May 6th!
The British Council is looking for exceptional leaders aged 18-35 to join a group 50 young people from around the world in a ten-day programme in October to learn from policy experts and inspirational leaders.
The Future Leaders Connect programme will include meetings at the UK Houses of Parliament, networking with world leaders, advanced learning from UK institutions and the chance to join an exclusive network of emerging international leaders.
I am urging young people in Gower who are interested in policy-making and leadership opportunities, to join a programme and connect to emerging leaders from around the world.
Future Leaders Connect, run by the British Council, is open to all young people aged 18-35 and will see ten representatives from the UK join 40 emerging policy leaders from eleven other countries.
This year, all applicants, whether successful or not, will have the opportunity to take part in a free online version of the Future Leaders Connect course in a specially-designed British Council MOOC which will launch in June.
Future Leaders Connect was launched in 2017 by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It has received support from figures such as the former UN Secretary Generals Ban-Ki Moon and the late Kofi Annan.
This is an invaluable opportunity for a motivated young person to meet similar high-achievers from around the world who are all united by their desire to make things better in their societies and beyond.
It’s open to anybody who has an idea they think could make the world a better place – and it will give them the practical skills and networks to help pursue it.
Applicants will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and why they have what it takes to be a global leader.
Applications must be submitted online before Monday 6 May 2019 23.59 via www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect
Candidates will be shortlisted from across the UK and finalists will be chosen from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
They will join finalists from eleven other countries for a ten-day programme in November which will include training in public speaking, policy development expertise and leadership skills. This will culminate with several senior meetings in the Houses of Parliament, meeting MPs and law makers.
Candidates will also be chosen to represent Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and the USA.
Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “I’ve been amazed by the calibre, energy and attitudes of the Future Leaders that I’ve met from across the world.
“The participants learn so much from the programme itself, but in addition they learn from each other and about the lives of people in other countries. It’s a fantastic collective experience that encourages future leaders to have a global outlook to the challenges they face.”
Future Leaders Connect is the British Council’s long-term global network of emerging policy leaders. It identifies exceptional young leaders through a vigorous application process, where they demonstrate their potential to make substantial change in their countries and beyond.
British Council research (Trust Pays) has found that: “Those who have had involvement in cultural relations – arts, education and English language activities – with the UK have great trust in people from the UK.”
Further research by the British Council’s Higher Education Policy Unit found 55 current world leaders, covering one in four countries, were educated in the UK.
Money back for broadband and landline customers when things go wrong
Broadband and landline customers will now get money back from their providers when things go wrong, without having to fight for it.
Previously, only around one in seven broadband or landline customers who suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments have received compensation from their provider; and even then, only in small amounts.
So Ofcom has intervened to ensure fairness for customers, while giving companies a strong incentive to avoid delays occurring in the first place.
The UK’s largest broadband and landline providers have agreed to compensate customers when they experience these delays, without having to ask.
BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet had already signed up to the scheme. Ofcom has today announced that EE, Hyperoptic, Plusnet and Vodafone have also agreed to the new terms. Hyperoptic and Vodafone will start paying compensation automatically later this year, while EE expects to be able to start paying automatically next year. Together, the firms that have committed account for more than 95% of broadband and landline customers in the UK.
The new scheme could see customers benefit from £142m in payments – around nine times the amount they receive today. As well as consumers, it will benefit the many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who choose residential landline and broadband services.
This is how it works:
Ofcom will carefully monitor companies’ compliance with the compensation scheme, and report on how it is working next year. If customers are not being treated fairly, we will step in and take action.
The compensation scheme is part of Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers programme of work to ensure that broadband, phone and TV customers are treated fairly.