ST David’S Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Shadow Secretary of State for Wales 2:13 pm, 28th February 2019

The hon. Gentleman said that he challenged Paul Flynn on some questions—no change there then, Top Cat. He listed all the good work that the Welsh Affairs Committee, which he chairs, has done for Wales through its reviews and recommendations. I was briefly on the Committee when I came into the House, and I must say that the hon. Gentleman is an excellent Chair who works cross-party. He does some cross-party training in the gym with me in the mornings, and he is quite ferocious there as well.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn has vast experience in this place. He talked about how important energy is to Wales and how it must be accompanied by infrastructure. He mentioned the unfortunate fact that Wylfa Newydd has been pulled on Ynys Môn. Yet again, the UK Government are not standing up for Wales, and they must replace the money that they promised in the north Wales growth bid.

Mr Jones highlighted the good cross-party work of the all-party parliamentary group on Mersey Dee north Wales, chaired by my hon. Friend Ian C. Lucas. In the right hon. Gentleman’s opinion, the key to the future is digital infrastructure and 5G.

My hon. Friend Chris Elmore highlighted that Wales is en route for a grand slam, and I agree with him. The boys played really well last Saturday, and long may that continue. He mentioned that Only Boys Aloud, who are wonderful singers, have been here today. He paid tribute to Steffan Lewis, who sadly lost his life recently. I did not know Steffan, but I understand from all the tributes to him that he was an exceptional young man. My hon. Friend also paid tribute to Carwyn Jones, who has stepped down as leader of Welsh Labour after nine years, leaving a strong legacy. Mark Drakeford has our support in his role as First Minister. Finally, my hon. Friend highlighted the fact that Transport for Wales has put so much investment into rail infrastructure in Wales, but the Department for Transport has not. I agree.

I never thought I would hear myself say this, but I agree with many of the things said by Stephen Crabb. He highlighted the fact that we are a nation of sport and the power of sport to unite and inspire people. He listed Welsh sporting heroes, but he did not mention Tesni Evans, who is the greatest squash player that we have produced. She retained her Welsh and British titles this year and won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth games in 2018. She is one for the future. I must agree, however, that if the boundary review goes through, we will lose the Welsh voice in this Chamber, and I sincerely hope that that does not happen.

Liz Saville Roberts spoke about justice and the prison and probation services, especially for women. My hon. Friend Carolyn Harris, the deputy leader of Welsh Labour, is a great campaigner, and she listed the achievements of her campaigns. We really value all that she does for Wales. My hon. Friend Anna McMorrin said that she was a proud devolutionist, as I think we in the Opposition are.

I am running out of time, so I will bring my remarks to a close. My hon. Friend Stephen Kinnock, whose seat is adjacent to my seat of Neath, is a champion for the steelworkers, as is my hon. Friend Nick Smith, in regard to pensions and how they have been ripped off. My right hon. Friend David Hanson speaks so clearly all the time, and I really value his advice to me personally. I must end by saying that Gareth Edwards, who was mentioned, comes from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen in the Neath constituency.