I took the opportunity during the Whitsun recess to get out and about across the diverse communities of Anglesey. Local enterprises provide social, economic and cultural hubs for local residents and visitors alike. My visits to support local campaigns and local projects included Canolfan Beaumaris, a great not-for-profit venture, as is the station / café at Llanerchymedd and Caffi Siop Mechell. These are bottom-up partnerships; local people and organisations / councils all working together to provide local amenities. They are shaping our Island. I support them and very many like them, and will continue to work with them in a positive way to raise the potential of community hubs and enhance the quality of life in our local communities.
I was proud to join hundreds of people in celebrating our Armed Forces at a special day in Holyhead when the Royal Navy submarine service was given the Freedom of the County of Anglesey and other services paraded through the town. The occasion also marked the 80th Anniversary of the loss of HMS Thetis, reminding us of the perils of the sea and the dangers our armed forces face daily. Anglesey has a proud tradition of service in all branches of the armed forces and volunteer organisations. I pay tribute to them all and our excellent British Legion.
The European election was a lesson for the major parties. Labour took a hammering for a lack of clarity. The Brexit Party took from the Tory and UKIP vote to top the polls in Wales / UK. Plaid Cymru took many remain votes in Wales increasing its share of the vote by 4%, as did the Lib Dems who saw a 10% rise in Wales and were second in England. Labour needs to learn lessons as it did when it lost to the Tories in 2009 and when Plaid Cymru came close to the top with 30% in 1999. Politics is complicated but people want clarity of message. The next challenge is how to break the deadlock on Brexit which is dividing our communities and country. More on this to follow in coming weeks.