ST David’S Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:42 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Anna McMorrin Anna McMorrin Labour, Cardiff North 1:42 pm, 28th February 2019

Diolch yn fawr, Madam Ddirprwy Lefarydd.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Tonia Antoniazzi on bringing this debate forward today. May I also echo what others have said about our colleagues Paul Flynn and Steffan Lewis? I know that Paul was a radical, reforming and brilliant politician who fought very hard for his causes and was a great advocate for devolution.

As I prepared for this debate today, I wondered about its purpose. Is a general debate about Wales on any given subject just a token gesture to our country as we approach our national bank holiday? MPs, one by one, will stand to raise concerns or issues on anything relating to our country, but there will be no obligation for anyone to respond to or to act on anything raised.

As a devolutionist I am happy that the majority of our work is carried out by the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff Bay, with our Welsh Labour Government able to bring forward radical and progressive policies and legislation. None the less, I am constantly frustrated by those in this place who misunderstand devolution. They are supported, on the whole, by a London-centric media, which talks as though England is the whole of the UK —whether that is on education policy, the NHS, housing or social services, all of which are devolved.

There should be a place for Welsh MPs to raise issues, to scrutinise and, importantly, to get a response and some action. One of the frustrating things in this place is that, as a Welsh MP, it is very difficult to raise issues. With just 30 minutes of Welsh questions every five or six weeks, just before Prime Ministers questions, there really is not much parliamentary time available to us, particularly at this time of great constitutional and political upheaval. With Brexit approaching in just a matter of days, we know the impact that either the Prime Minister’s deal or no deal will have on our country, and we know that it will hit us in Wales the hardest. By the time that we have the Prime Minister’s endlessly postponed meaningful vote on 12 March, we will have fewer than 400 hours until the article 50 deadline, at which time we will crash out of the European Union into the unknown unless something is done. No one can argue that that is in the country’s interest. Businesses, which have, for years, invested in Wales, are now upping and leaving, fed up with the uncertainty and chaos. We know that Ford, Airbus, Sony, Panasonic and Honda will not be the last. As more companies announce the impact that Brexit is having on their businesses, they are taking their jobs, their development and their trade elsewhere.