20 Years of Devolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Conservative, Aberconwy 1:05 pm, 11th July 2019

May I first associate myself with the comments of my hon. Friend Andrew Griffiths about cystic fibrosis?

It is a pleasure to follow Ian Murray, and I join him in saying that this is a celebration. Unlike my good friend the Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee, my hon. Friend David T. C. Davies, I was in favour of establishing the Welsh Assembly. While it has not been perfect, I would place the blame for its failures primarily on the Welsh Government, not on the institution per se. However, some of the failures highlighted by my hon. Friend are issues that we should be worried about. In education, for example, we genuinely need to look carefully at ourselves in Wales and ask whether we are delivering the educational standards to which we actually aspire.

However, I took one exception with my hon. Friend’s comments about the health service. It is fair to have a political debate about the health service in Wales, and it is fair to say that people can be genuinely disappointed with the health service in Wales. However, we must be honest enough as politicians to recognise that some of the challenges facing the health service in Wales are unique. The age profile of my constituency and many others in north Wales brings particular problems, and I speak as somebody who is represented from a health perspective by a health board that is both the largest in Wales and probably the most problematic in Wales. Although many of those problems are blamed, rightly, on decisions made by the Welsh Government, it would be naive and wrong to blame all those problems on the Welsh Government. Some of the problems we face in north Wales are unique.