This evening, the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament. I was one of the 432 MPs that voted against the deal.
This isn’t a decision I have made lightly. The result of the European Union referendum in Swansea did not give a constituency breakdown but House of Commons Library independent research on the vote estimates that Gower voted to remain by 50.7%.
Since being elected I have listened to the views of constituents that I’ve received by email, letter, telephone call, and at public meetings. I have now been contacted by 738 separate Gower constituents who have directly stated whether they wished to remain or leave the EU. After analysing each response, 21% of constituents stated that they wished to leave the EU, whilst 79% of constituents said they wanted the UK to remain a member of the EU.
More importantly I considered the impact this deal would have on my constituents. The deal the Prime Minister agreed with the EU and presented to Parliament was deeply flawed and represents a complete failure of her approach over the last two years. The Prime Minister's deal does not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards. It does not ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses, or allow for EU wide consumer protections. The lack of a clear future relationship would’ve also meant the likely usage of the Northern Ireland backstop.
This result tonight should also not be an excuse for a “no deal” exit from the EU. A no deal Brexit would be catastrophic for agriculture and manufacturing industries in Gower, and the Government does not have the right to plunge our country into chaos because of its own failure to get a good deal. I will therefore be supporting amendments that make rejection of a no-deal Brexit clear, and Parliament must use all options to ensure it cannot and will not happen.
It’s now clear that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is finished, and she must step aside for a government that can offer this country a plan with light at the end of the tunnel. Her government has lost the confidence of Parliament, so a motion of no confidence must be tabled and she should do the honourable thing and call a general election.
However, the majority of my constituents in Gower have told me they can’t accept any Brexit without a final say on the deal. That is why I will continue to press for a People’s Vote on whatever withdrawal deal is agreed in Parliament, so the people can have the final say on the type of Brexit they desire.
My constituents did not vote to be poorer because of Brexit and for as long as I represent them in Parliament, I will not vote for a Brexit that makes them a single penny worse off.
An update from Tonia Antoniazzi - Craig Cefn Parc Primary school, The Greyhound Llanrhidian, M4, & Penllergaer Redwood
The problem with Brexit - apart from Theresa May’s calamitous handing of the situation, pulling the meaningful vote in Parliament and crossing her own red lines in negotiations with Europe - is that it dominates political discussion, squeezing out other important issues from the headlines. We should be talking about issues like state pension inequality or the roll out of universal credit. Hidden by the humiliating headlines of the last two weeks generated by recent parliamentary fiascoes there have been important developments on several issues in Gower.
On Friday 14th December I had a meeting in my constituency office with Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea City Council. At the meeting Cllr Stewart confirmed that the Council intend to continue with the proposal to close Craig Cefn Parc Primary school following the consultation that closed in October. This is potentially disastrous news for the parents and residents who have been fighting to keep the school open but there is still a lot to fight for. I expressed my deep concern about the consequences of closing the Primary school will have on the community and I will be speaking again with parents and campaigners to the full Swansea Council meeting on Thursday. I firmly believe that closing the school is the wrong decision and risks tearing the heart out this unique Welsh village. I urge the council to think outside the box for potential future solutions.
I also expressed my disgust that a 200-year-old redwood in Penllergaer woods had been felled by developers clearing land for the housing development nearby. I have urged to Cllr Rob Stewart and the council to be robust in their investigation into this incident, and to use all tools available to punish those responsible if blame is proven.
Many residents in Llanrhidian and Oldwalls were devastated to hear of the decision to close the Greyhound Inn. This is an incredibly difficult time for pubs but there is never a good time to lose such a valuable community asset and such a famous Gower landmark. I recently met Stuart Morgan, a businessman from Loughor who wanted to form a working group with local publicans and the Campaign for Real Ale to see how we can protect Gower pubs. I will be announcing more about it in the new year but if you've got any suggestions that you'd like me to take forward to protect Gower pubs, please get in touch. I’ve had several residents contact me to raise their concerns regarding the closure of the pub and the future usage of the land. Please contact me via email with your comments about the plans and I will be happy to reflect those in my submission to the planning department.
I was dismayed to see another tweet from South Wales Police on Sunday saying that they were responding to yet another incident at Junction 47 on the M4. This area is clearly an accident black spot and something must be done to reduce the number of accidents on the stretch of road between Penllergaer and LLangyfelach. I will be writing to the new Deputy Minister for Economy & Transport at Welsh Government, Lee Waters AM to ask what can be done to investigate why there is a such high frequency of road traffic collisions in the area and what can be done to reduce them.
I will be holding my final surgery of the year this Thursday in my constituency office between 1pm and 2pm. I’m currently in the process of confirming venues for 2019 surgeries and details will be published on the website as soon as they are finalised. My office will be closed from the 24th December to the 2nd January but if you have any urgent queries please email or leave a voicemail which my staff and I will be checking daily.
Have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year and hope to see many of you in 2019!
If being the Member of Parliament for Gower for the last 14 months has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I have held regular surgeries across the constituency and have been asked to assist constituents with every kind of problem you could possibly imagine.
However, Monday’s advice surgery at the Ostreme Centre was not a typical affair when I was greeted by over 50 constituents, nearly all with the same concerns surrounding Mumbles Pier and the proposed foreshore development.
The attendance was extraordinary compared to my previous surgeries, yet I was assured that there would have been a larger number attending had the meeting been outside of working hours.
Once those that had attended had been given an opportunity to express their views it was evident that the clear majority of those in attendance were there to express their opposition to the development proposals at the foreshore.
It’s heartening to see community activism like the Mumbles Action Group, making sure residents views are heard on important issues such as this.
This is wholly a decision for Swansea Council, but what I promise to do, as I said to those at my surgery, is to represent the concerns of my constituents.
I will be raising constituent’s objections and comments regarding the proposed plans and I would request constituents that wish me to do so on their behalf, contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been speaking at length to Mumbles Community Council, and I have written to them, suggesting that they use the powers at their disposal to raise residents’ concerns through the channels open to them.
I am aware that my Assembly colleague, Rebecca Evans AM has also sent representations to Swansea City Council and to the Welsh Assembly. I will be following up on this and will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffith AM, to ask her to consider the objections raised.
It is clear that emotions within the community are running high and that the relationship between the developers and the community is strained.
Tension such as this is seldom good for a community, and I believe communication is key to the resolution of this situation.
I spoke to residents quite candidly and explained that communication with AMECO is key to improving the situation.
In my capacity as MP, I have visited the Pier to look at the plans for its redevelopment and to speak to AMECO in order to gain a balanced view.
I believe that the protection and restoration of Mumbles Pier and a suitable development of the headland will ultimately be beneficial. The Pier is an important part of Mumbles’ and Swansea’s heritage and its protection must be a priority.
I would like to see a forum where the views of the community in Mumbles is reflected in the development, and that relationships between all involved are more cohesive. As MP for Gower, I will work with everyone to deliver that outcome.
Mumbles is truly an iconic and beautiful place with a vibrant community and with a shared vision, the community can work as one for the prosperity of Mumbles.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP has called for the Chancellor Phillip Hammond to freeze beer duty in his next budget to support pubs in Gower.
Tonia Antoniazzi said “Pubs are at the very heart of Gower communities and we need to take decisive action to protect them.”
30 Million adults visit the pub every month in Britain which supports 900,000 jobs and bring in £13 billion in tax revenues.
At the 2017 Autumn Budget the UK Government froze beer duty. However, this followed an increase at the Spring Budget which added 2p to the cost of a pint of beer and, together with increases in other alcohol duties, will have cost pubs around £125 million in the last year.
“I believe the 2p increase was the wrong decision and posed a risk to pubs in Gower, particularly coming alongside increased inflation,” said Tonia.
“I am pleased that the Welsh high street relief scheme is helping shops and pubs pay their business rates, but we must to more at Westminster to protect the local pub.”
“At the last election I campaigned for a national review of local pubs to examine the reasons for their large-scale demise and to establish a joint taskforce to consider their future sustainability.”
"Our pubs provide a focal point for communities to come together, promoting community cohesion so I implore the Chancellor to listen to the demands of publicans and pub goers to freeze beer duty.”
"I am currently taking nominations for parliamentary pub of the year and I want constituents to keep sending their suggestions in until the 20th September. I'll then be conducting a poll via social media to decide the winning nomination."
You can nominate your favourite Gower pub at http://www.toniaantoniazzi.co.uk/updates/enter-your-favourite-gower-local-into-the-parliamentary-pub-of-the-year-competition
Nominations for this years Parliamentary Pub of the Year competition are now open.
Gower has a fantastic range of pubs and breweries so I am asking constituents to nominate their favourite Gower pub. The winner of the Gower nomination will then be chosen in an online vote.
All constituents need to do is submit the name of their favourite pub and why they think that institution is great at what they do.
This can include:
Give your favourite Gower pub the recognition it deserves!
Nominations close on 20th September 2018.
We now have just under two weeks for local businesses in Gower to enter the Best Small Shops Competition!
The Best Small Shops Competition celebrates the creativity of small shops and the central role they play in our local community.
Shopkeepers can nominate their businesses until Sunday 9th September via www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. A shortlist of 25 of the most impressive applications will be shortlisted by a panel made up of established representatives from the independent retail industry.
The judges will be looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways that they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community.
The shortlisted small shops will be invited to a Parliamentary Reception on the 13th November 2018 to meet their Member of Parliament and find out who will be crowned the Best Small Shop for 2018.
Submit your entry at www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. by Sunday 9th September 2018.
Better public safety awareness of the dangers swimming off the Gower Coast are needed after an increase in emergency call-outs says Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi.
After a string of recent rescue call outs by the RNLI and the Coastguard this summer, calls have been made to improve the public awareness around the dangers of swimming off the Gower Coast.
There has been a noticeable increase in holiday makers and visitors to Blue Pool since a “BBC Sesh” vlog profiling the bay was released, with the article itself being viewed by over 1.3 million people.
A nine-year-old boy and a woman were rescued on Sunday, after the boy had been swept away by strong currents at the Gower beauty spot.
Burry Port RNLI said they have made a number of rescues from Blue Pool Bay this year, which is "notorious" because of its deep water, strong current and heavy surf.
"This one was probably the worst we have had to attend," said Alun Wells of the RNLI.
Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi said that more needs to be done to improve to safety provisions and public awareness can be made at higher risk locations such as Blue Pool Bay in Gower.
Member of Parliament for Gower, Tonia Antoniazzi said “We’ve had a number of constituents raise concerns and my office has been in touch with the Local Authority to see what can be done at the bay itself to improve safety.”
“We are lucky to have such a beautiful coastline on our doorstep and I want people to make the most of it and visit us but the risks are very real.”
“So grateful to the Coastguard, the RNLI, and the Loughor Inshore lifeboat for all their life-saving work off the Gower Coast.”
I can't believe it's been a year since I was elected as your MP for Gower. Thank you all for the help and support throughout the last 12 months. I've made a short video of some of the things that I've been up to in my first year as your MP. I hope the next 12 months are just as exciting.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP has taken a key step towards helping end the stigma surrounding dementia by becoming a Dementia Friend and supporting Alzheimer's Society Cymru's vision of a dementia-friendly Wales. A Dementia Friend is someone who has gained a basic understanding about what it is like to have dementia and the small ways they can support someone living with the condition.
Dementia Friends was launched in February 2013 by Alzheimer’s Society. It is a trailblazing initiative that aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action.
Tonia took part in a number of exercises aimed at helping participants understand the effect of dementia on people’s everyday lives.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: ‘I've signed up to show my support for Dementia Friends, and am encouraging people in Gower to do the same too. With a growing number of people living with dementia, it's more important than ever we all have a better understanding of the condition.
‘Dementia Friends is about giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with dementia. From helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia, it can help make our local community a better place to live.’
Cheryl James, Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, said: ‘Dementia is one of the biggest health and care challenges our country faces - one that everyone must respond to. Too many people are not getting the support they deserve and are entitled to. Too many families are struggling to get by. Too many people with dementia live in communities that do not support and include them.
'We all have a part to play in improving the lives of people living with dementia and creating a dementia-friendly UK.
'We are delighted to see Tonia Antoniazzi MP showing her support for Dementia Friends. Less than half of us think we know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends isn’t about creating experts, it’s about helping people understand a little bit more about what it’s like to live with the condition and then turn that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend.’
Local representatives in Swansea have met to discuss the plans for the proposed Abergelli power plant in Felindre.
Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi has teamed up with the County Councillors Brigitte Rowlands and Gareth Sullivan to raise awareness of the consultation period for the Power station.
Councillor Rowlands of Mawr and Councillor Sullivan of Llangyfelach met with the Gower MP at Llangyfelach Stores to discuss how local communities can be motivated to express their views effectively before the end of the consultation period.
All three representatives are encouraging residents to contact them by email or post with their views, which will then be fed in directly to the consultation process.
Houses within approximately 2 miles are expected to receive a leaflet from Abergelli Power about the project after the 16th January but Tonia, Gareth and Brigitte will also be distributing leaflets with information for residents.
Tonia Antoniazzi said “I held a public meeting in Llangyfelach in September last year because I felt it was important that residents had an opportunity to have their say on the potential plans for a prison in Felindre.”
“Residents views must be listened to before a decision is made so I’m asking residents in Gower to contact me via email at Tonia.Antoniazzi.email@example.com with their contributions.”
“We must work together to bring positive, sustainable investment to Gower and Swansea.”
Exhibitions about the Abergelli project will be held in Llangyfelach Church Hall on Wednesday 7th February between 4 pm and 7 pm, Forge Fach Resource Centre on Thursday 8th between 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm, Tircoed Village Hall on Friday 9th February between 5 pm and 8 pm, and Felindre Welfare Hall on Saturday between 10 am and 1 pm.