Guto Bebb: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship this afternoon, Mr Paisley. I congratulate the hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen) on a wide-ranging, detailed speech, which is nothing less than I would expect from him. He has always shown a great interest in the energy sector in Ynys Môn, and his enthusiasm and hard work in Anglesey is well understood by myself, from both...
Guto Bebb: I believe that it was the hon. Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies) who commented that good things are worth waiting for; that was certainly the case with the Welsh football team’s appearance at the European championships last year. I would rather have a good decision made in time than a rushed decision. This debate has highlighted the previous Labour Government’s decisions...
Guto Bebb: I welcome that intervention, but the hon. Gentleman would be entirely unreasonable to state that the Hendry report included a comprehensive financial review. It is only fair for the Departments in question and the Government to take the issue seriously.
Guto Bebb: That is the same question that I have been asked several times in Welsh questions and in this debate. The answer is the same: we will provide the right answer in due course, but it is important that we take our time to consider all the implications.
Guto Bebb: No, I will not take another intervention on this issue. I would like to move on to the main elements of the debate—the issues raised by the hon. Member for Ynys Môn. As he rightly said, there has been an element of political knockabout towards the end of this debate, but it is important to highlight that we in Wales have an opportunity to contribute significantly to the energy mix...
Guto Bebb: I highlight again, therefore, in response to the comments that this Government have not supported energy generation in Wales, that the facts speak for themselves. The opportunities for further development have been discussed by the hon. Member for Ynys Môn and other hon. Members. I turn particularly to Anglesey’s potential for nuclear. I think that everybody who is committed to the...
Guto Bebb: I am surprised by that question, because the hon. Gentleman represents Swansea East—
Guto Bebb: I apologise; I meant Swansea West. The hon. Gentleman should be aware that the Swansea city deal includes a number of projects, but the tidal lagoon is not one of them, although it has certainly contributed to the development of the city region. I would have expected him, as the local MP, to understand what was within the deal in question.
Guto Bebb: Thank you, Mr Paisley. The tidal lagoon was not part of the Swansea region deal, as the hon. Member for Swansea West should have been aware.
Guto Bebb: Good. I should also address the possibility of moving forward with the small modular reactor—as I said, we will visit Trawsfynydd very shortly—and the renewables issues that hon. Members have raised. Our track record on renewables is positive. I fully accept that wind farm costs have fallen quite significantly as a result of investments made, but I think the comments of the hon....
Guto Bebb: There is this myth about the closure of mines by Conservative Governments. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that more pits closed in Wales under the leadership of the Labour party, under Labour Governments, than under any Conservative Government?
Guto Bebb: The hon. Gentleman asks whether I supported the project. The project in question was completed well before I was elected to this place.
Guto Bebb: In relation to Gwynt y Môr, I was on the beach in Llandudno, insisting that the Gwynt y Môr project should ensure that there would be a local supply chain, and I am very proud of the fact that the further education college, Coleg Llandrillo Menai, is supporting the training of people to work on that site. The hon. Gentleman tries to score a cheap point, but fails again.
Guto Bebb: Is it not the case that the diktat for some of the wind farms was opposed by every single councillor in Conwy, including the Labour leader of Conwy Council at that time?
Guto Bebb: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Guto Bebb: The hon. Gentleman must give way.
Guto Bebb: indicated dissent.
Guto Bebb: Will the hon. Gentleman quickly give way?
Guto Bebb: I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for quickly giving way. His point on the flood defences is really important, but does it not highlight the fact that tidal lagoons are often about more than just energy generation?
Guto Bebb: The agreement with the Democratic Unionist party is about delivering for the whole of the United Kingdom so that we can get on with our plan to get the best Brexit deal for our country and create an economy that works for everyone. It is part of the Government’s commitment to support growth across all parts of the UK, including commitments to investment in city deals in Wales and the...