Welcome to my latest newsletter:
Another week and another failed attempt to get approval in Parliament for the latest Brexit deal. I am sorry to everyone affected by this as I hear every day how residents in our area (however they may have voted in 2016) yearn for a conclusion.
It's now over three years that we have been arguing about Brexit with pretty well every option either rejected by the EU or by Parliament.
Right from the result of the referendum being announced I have campaigned for us to leave by way of a deal as the preferred option. I even formed a Parliamentary movement (the Brexit Delivery Group) to help achieve it. That way we could achieve two v ital things 1. respect for the 55% of people in our area who opted to leave and who trusted Parliament to honour that decision and 2. respect for the concerns of the 45% who took an opposing v iew and who had legitimate fears about the consequences of a 'no-deal' brexit.
I still think that the deal presented to Parliament on Saturday, and which I supported, stands the greatest chance of meeting both those objectives. We missed that chance but will now look at new ways to break the deadlock this week. I will keep you posted. Don't forget that not only do we need to approve the deal, but we have to pass the legislation necessary to implement it (known as the Withdrawal Agreement Bill) as well. Here in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire I have:
Taken part in a discussion in Carmarthen organised by Transform Drugs Policy (pic left). This series of events was inspired by Laugharne resident Pat Hudson who lost her son to an overdose which could potentially have been avoided with the right reforms. Other bereaved families and drug experts also discussed whether banning drugs is the best way forward or whether regulation could better protect users and their families.
Hosted a packed "Meet and Greet" at The Alpha Inn in Tavernspite. 40 local residents came along and we covered topics from potholes to agricultural policy. I have hosted dozens of these events across our two counties, so we should be at a venue near you before too long.
Been inundated with emails from Pembroke Dock residents who are horrified at plans by the Port of Milford Haven to open a large-scale waste transfer station in the Royal Dockyard (pic right) in the middle of the town. I am meeting Natural Resources Wales and the Port Authority in the next few days to put the case for local residents.
Visited Pembroke to hear from Gatehouse View residents about the night time disturbance caused by Network Rail working on the rail tunnel next to their homes. Vegetation clearing and other work is due to last for months. Network Rail is holding a public meeting about the issue on 18 November at Pembroke Leisure Centre between 3-6.30pm so please do attend if it is affecting you.
Attended a packed public meeting in Laugharne launching the 'Save Island House' campaign (pic left). I am working with the local community to find practical ways to save this crumbling Grade 2 listed property in the centre of town. Worked with St Clears Town Council to lobby the Welsh Assembly Government and Transport for Wales to reopen the town's train station. Support for the scheme - which has won through to a final
Wales to reopen the town's train station. Support for the scheme - which has won through to a final Welsh shortlist - has been overwhelming with over 40,000 people engaging with the process. However we are some way off this actually happening so further meetings are planned to try and make it a reality.
In Westminster: Continued to keep up the pressure on the Welsh Assembly Government and Natural Resources Wales to hold to account those who pollute our rivers. At present farmers can insure against any fines imposed for pollution and I am working to get this loophole closed. The Welsh Government told me it was an insurance matter for Westminster, but the UK Government tells me it is for National Resources Wales to expressly ban insurance indemnity. More letters have been written and I will continue to push the matter. In my role as a Cabinet Office Minister I v isited a virtual reality company (pic right) making extraordinary and brilliant training aids for medics and surgeons - I even conducted part of a v irtual hipreplacement procedure! Met the staff at the headquarters of the Government Digital Services. Whether you are applying for a passport or driv ing licence, need adv ice on benefits or business, or a host of other issues, then your journey through gov.uk websites is made easier by this team of people.
I was delighted to help my colleague Giles Watling MP (older readers might remember him as the Vicar in the Carla Lane sitcom "Bread") launch his All Party Parliamentary Group on the Theatre (pic left). Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonnev ille gave the keynote speech about how the arts can transform lives up and down the country.
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