On Monday MPs from across the House came together to pay tribute to the life and achievements of the Duke of Edinburgh. My sympathies are with the Royal Family, and particularly with the Queen, who has lost her husband of 73 years, and the person she has described as her “strength and stay” during her long reign. The Duke’s legacy will be felt across the UK in the form of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, which he set up in the 1950s to bring youngsters from different walks of life together and to teach them skills that they were unlikely to learn in a classroom setting. I hope to see many more youngsters from Gower participate from this scheme in the future and to see all that they achieve – this will be a great legacy for the Prince.
I think all of us are relieved to see the restrictions in Wales begin to ease, but as we start to get out and about more it is important that we consider the environment and the others who share it with us. We live in a beautiful part of the world and there are so many wonderful and diverse places in the Gower constituency to visit. Like many constituents, I was shocked to see pictures on social media of the rubbish left behind in some beauty spots when the weather was good over the Easter holiday weekend. Whilst some more bins would be helpful, there are so many people who aren't even attempting to take their rubbish home or find a bin, and just leave it where they were. So, please, when you’re out and about, enjoying spring and more freedom, be considerate of others and the beautiful surroundings and keep Wales clean!
With the Senedd elections approaching, I’ve been pleased to be doing my bit and helping Welsh Labour colleagues canvass and it’s been great to be out and about talking to people – socially distanced, of course! I was in Bishopston on Monday with Gower Senedd candidate Rebecca Evans, who has been a great representative for Gower since she was elected. I'll be out with Rebecca again soon! It was great to pop over the Loughor Bridge to Llanelli to support Lee Waters. He has also been a fantastic representative for the local community and the wider Welsh community since he was first elected to the Senedd in 2016 and I hope to see him returned! For those who are concerned about voting in this election due to Covid, remember you can still register for a postal or proxy vote until the 20th April. Your voice should be heard, regardless of what is happening in the world pandemic-wise, and a postal vote is a safe and secure way of ensuring that! For more information on a postal vote, visit the Swansea Council website.
This week’s Prime Minister’s Questions had some powerful moments in it. In particular, Vicky Foxcroft signed the first part of her question, asking the Prime Minister whether he had understood and whether he now understood how deaf people felt during his Covid Government briefings. The Welsh Labour Government have a sign language interpreter during all their public briefings and this inclusivity is going to be vital to build back from the Covid pandemic and to help everyone in our society take part and share in prosperity. We cannot go back to the way things were before; we want a more equal, a fairer, and a more modern society that appreciates both the difficulties and opportunities of the 21st century.. I applaud Vicky for her laying down this challenge to the Government as well as for the simple, yet effective way she put it to them.
We also had Labour MPs Matt Western and Ruth Cadbury calling the Government out on the appalling cronyism and corruption that surrounds this Government. The Greensill scandal that has erupted around former PM David Cameron has opened up questions around the ineffectiveness of lobbying rules and the revolving door between Government ministers and the world of private business. We need rules that ensure transparency so that the public can once again know that even if they don’t agree with particular ministers or parties, they know that they are acting to enrich society rather than simply themselves. That is what public office should be about.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increase, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well and remember – and remember - observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!