Community, Trains and the Irish Question… Again
It was a real pleasure to join a cross-section of churches and chapels across the Island and beyond to welcome the new Archdeacon of Anglesey Andy Herrick to his new role. The service was led by the Bishop of Bangor and focussed its attention on the service of others and the community as the main tenants of his duty. It is vital we all work together for the benefit of the entire community. I look forward to working with Revd. Andy in the future as I do with community groups and other civic and religious leaders across our proud Island community.
In Parliament I put the case to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the money saved from the UK Government’s decision to cancel the electrification of the rail line from Cardiff to Swansea be spent in Wales. This is in step with the views of the Welsh Affairs Committee and I will keep on the pressure to get a more level playing field for our rail network. The new Wales and Borders franchise holders was announced this week, with further details to follow. Fair funding from the UK can improve Welsh railways further.
I also met with energy developers, with lobbyists on the EU and Brexit, and attended a meeting of the All Party Group on Japan. It is important in my role to balance local, national and international matters.
The Irish question continues to be a main issue of concern in the Brexit negotiations, a matter I have raised consistently. A customs union agreement is essential to break this deadlock. The Prime Minister knows this, but is being bounced by Brexit hardliners, despite all indicators and businesses saying that without these arrangements the economic consequences are dire for all nations and regions of the UK. I do not believe that those who voted to leave the EU want their communities to be poorer. That is why a customs union arrangement is vital and why I have been meeting Welsh Government leaders, including the First Minister, and Labour’s frontbench spokesman Keir Starmer on the issue. They get it, sadly after raising it with the UK Government on many occasions they do not, in public at least.
Over the Whitsun mini-recess I intend to get out and about and will put some time aside for a family break and enjoy the great outdoors.