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Reshuffle and refresh for Plaid group

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PLAID CYMRU leader Adam Price has revealed the new Plaid Cymru shadow ministerial team that he says will fight for the best deal and maximise new opportunities for Wales ahead of the 2021 election in sixteen months.
The Plaid Cymru Leader said that this was the team that would “lead the fight” for the people of Wales in a “new decade of change”.
Mr Price said that his team wouldn’t just “manage problems” but “deliver real solutions” to the issues facing Wales including tackling NHS waiting times, strengthening infrastructure, creating well-paid employment and securing fair funding for Wales after Brexit.
He added that Plaid Cymru “can and will” deliver for the people of Wales and would offer “new thinking and new ideas” after twenty years of a “tired Labour government”.
Amongst the new changes, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM will take on the health and finance portfolios whilst Helen Mary Jones AM will become responsible for the economy and transport.
Dr Dai Lloyd AM will be taking over international relations and exiting the EU whilst Delyth Jewell AM adopts the portfolio of public service transformation.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said: “With just over a year to go until Wales elects a new government, I’m proud to unveil the Plaid Cymru team that will lead the fight for the people of Wales in this new decade of change.
“We won’t simply manage problems. We’ll propose and deliver real solutions that will have a positive change on people’s lives.
“Whether it’s tackling NHS waiting times and the pressures on social care, connecting Wales through a green north-to-south transport system, securing well-paid jobs for all, or ensuring fair funding for Wales following our exit from the European Union, this Plaid Cymru team can and will deliver for the people of Wales.
“With the well-being of the people of Wales as our absolute priority, we stand ready to lead on to a new Wales. That journey begins now.”
In Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts has been re-selected as the party’s parliamentary leader and will take responsibility for Justice, Home Affairs, Women & Equalities and Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Jonathan Edwards will remain the party’s whip and will lead on Foreign Affairs, Defence, Transport and International Development.
Ben Lake will lead on Treasury, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Constitutional Affairs and Culture, Media and Sport.
Hywel Williams will take responsibility for Brexit, International Trade, Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office.
Plaid Cymru Westminster Parliamentary Group Leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “It is a great honour to be re-selected to lead Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary group in Westminster following last month’s election, in which we equalled our best result in terms of the number of MPs, with all four returned.
“As the British Government starts what will be the most difficult negotiations in recent memory, our strong team in Westminster will ensure that Boris Johnson will not get away with side-lining Wales any longer.
“The Westminster group is fully behind our excellent new Shadow Cabinet as we approach the 2021 election. Wales needs a new government and Plaid Cymru is ready to be that government.”
PORTFOLIOS
Adam Price – Leader, Independence and the constitution
Siân Gwenllian – Deputy Leader and Chief Whip, Shadow Minister for Education, Culture and the Welsh Language and Shadow Trefnydd
Rhun ap Iorwerth – Shadow Minister for Health and Finance, Deputy in the Senedd and Official Languages Commissioner
Leanne Wood – Shadow Minister for Justice and Equalities
Dai Lloyd – Shadow Minister for Constitutional Affairs, International Relations and Leaving the EU, Group Chair & Deputy Chief Whip
Llyr Gruffydd – Shadow Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs
Helen Mary Jones – Shadow Minister for Economy, Tackling Poverty and Transport
Bethan Sayed – Shadow Minister for Post-16 Education, Skills and Innovation
Delyth Jewell – Shadow Minister for Public Service Transformation and the Future, Local Government Association Coordinator
Elfyn Llwyd – Shadow Counsel General

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News

Town Council re-directs funds to food bank

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Ammanford Town Council has taken a decision to donate £1500 to their local food bank. The decision was taken to re-allocate funding from their events budget in light of the current Covid-19 crisis. This re-allocation will support the local food bank in maintaining their operations as they provide support to some of the most highly affected members of the community during these unprecedented times. Starting with a donation of £500, the council has made further subsequent donations, now totalling £1500.

Town Council Mayor, Julia Bell said:

I’m extremely proud of our decision as a town council, and of our fantastic volunteers. This is one of several projects the town council is running to support the community. We thank everyone for doing their absolute best in some very difficult circumstances.

Mr Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said:

“This decision by the Ammanford Town Council is highly commendable. The Covid-19 crisis is multiplying the financial pressures that face the more vulnerable in society, and the foodbank will play an essential role in the coming weeks and months”

For further information contact Jonathan Edwards MP on edwardsjab2@parliament.uk 07534984376

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Opinion: The Big Question Facing Kier Starmer – Jonathan Edwards

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In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis the election victory of Sir Kier Starmer as Labour Leader didn’t achieve the column inches one would normally expect.  As is customary, I would like to wish Kier well in his role.  I can not claim to know him as a person having only conversed on a few occasions, however I have respect for his debating ability, his considered tone and his eye for detail.  I consider him a serious politician.

The challenges he faces are enormous of course.   Labour have now lost four Westminster elections on the bounce.  His decision making must quickly shift from efforts to unify his party to the far more important task of presenting a credible challenge to the Conservative party at the next Westminster election.

Labour has a defining choice to make, and this decision will have far reaching consequences for all political parties operating in the British State.  On the one hand, Labour could revert to its usual tribal inward-looking tendencies.  However, essentially this would mean writing off the next election as a part of a wider rebuilding strategy aimed at the 2029 election.  A stark admission as it would mean Labour having been out of power at Westminster level for twenty years at best.

Alternatively, Kier Starmer could acknowledge that Labour on their own will not be able to challenge the Tories for power at the next Westminster election.  This path would then require Starmer reaching out to all the other opposition parties in Westminster apart from the DUP.  I am talking about more than just coordination of parliamentary activity in Westminster.  In a first past the post electoral system we are talking about the need for non-aggression pacts, and a joint programme of government.  I would go as far as to suggest that the government itself would need to be a unity administration delivering on the agreed programme.

Parliamentary boundary changes makes the task even more pressing.  Whatever one thinks of his opportunistic politics, Boris Johnson has succeeded in unifying the right of the political spectrum.   However, the centre and left have a host of parties vying for support.  In a political system based for two horse races, the end result is brutal as we saw in December.

What sort of programme could Plaid Cymru, SNP, Green, Liberals, SDLP, Alliance and Labour unite around?  There would be little difficulty in agreeing a progressive economic and social policy platform.  A proportional voting system would be a must to enable all parties to compete equally in subsequent elections.  The big challenge for me seems to be the constitutional question when it comes to Scotland and Wales.   For Plaid Cymru and the SNP there would need to be a commitment for a fully Confederal system leaving only foreign affairs, defence, and macro-economic policy reserved – the sort of settlement promised by Cameron and Brown on the eve of the Scottish independence poll.  This should be supported with House of Lords reform into an elected Senate of the Nations of the British State.   Both Wales and Scotland would also require the statutory right to hold independence referenda at time of their own choosing.  This should be uncontroversial as it is the policy of the Labour Welsh Government.

This is the very simple choice facing the new leader of the Labour party.  Does he want to be Prime Minister, or effectively a plumber performing a re-patching job on a tired and insular party.

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Community

Council to consider new regional relationship for school improvement

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board will meet next week to discuss the authority’s future as part of the regional school improvement consortium ERW (Educational Regional Workforce).

The council, along with authorities in Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Swansea, has been a part of the consortium since it was established in 2014.

However, the Executive Board could decide to withdraw from the consortium to support a new arrangement for school improvement services based on the footprint of the Swansea Bay Region.

Neath Port Talbot Council has already served notice to withdraw.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, has recognised the many positive achievements of the consortium in recent years, but said it was right to discuss what was best for Carmarthenshire going forward.

“ERW has achieved many positive things, however it is fair to say that it has also navigated through some difficult times with changes in political and managerial leadership,” he said. “The large geographical area of the ERW footprint has added to these challenges.

“We truly value working with our neighbours, but it is timely to review the regional arrangements and potentially look to realign with other partnerships across the Swansea Bay City Region which could have bigger benefits for Carmarthenshire’s children and young people.”

The Executive Board will meet on March 16 (2020) to review the authority’s position, but has promised to work with partners to ensure a seamless and robust transition should members decide to withdraw.

Cllr Glynog Davies, the council’s Executive Board Member for education and children’s services, added: “We are committed to working in partnership and across local authority boundaries where this delivers benefits for our communities.

“It’s right to acknowledge the significant progress of ERW over the last 12 months, in terms of staffing and organisation, but we must be confident that we are providing the very best support for our schools and it’s timely to look at how this can best be achieved.”

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