Welcome to my CLP report for June 2018
In my role as Shadow Miniser for the Armed Forces and Defence Procurement in Labour’s Shadow Defence team I attended a briefing by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Armed Forces and one by BAE Systems on the proposed Combat Air Strategy. I also undertook a visit to Lockheed Martin’s base in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, and attended a event hoosted by General Dynamics, who have sites in Oakdale and Merthyr Tydfil.
As part of more formal business, I submitted two written questions to the Secretary of State for Defence on defence matters, and submitted one written question to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the Report on Child Migration Programmes published by the independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
I made contributions to two debates in Parliament. The first was in a debate on the historic allegations against veterans, with specific reference to the Northern Island troubles, calling for the need for progress in this difficult area. I stressed that any progress must take place on the basis of consensus and in the spirit of reconciliation and co-operation. The second contribution was in a debate concerning the base- porting of the Type 26 frigates. In this debate I asked for reassurances on the future of the Royal Navy ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark in the context of defence cuts.
I was pleased to chair a book launch on behalf of Labour Heritage for the memoirs of Morgan Phillips. He grew up in Bargoed and went on to become the General Secretary of the Labour Party from 1944 to 1962.
I was able to attend a drop-in organised by the road safety charity Brake, and a celebration of 150 years of the TUC. It was also a pleasure to meet a couple of amazing young people from Wales who had just returned from Ethiopia at the UK Scouting Skills for Life event.
Is membership of the European Economic Area the best option for Britain?
Next week, the Commons will vote on the amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which have been made by the House of Lords. Most of these amendments are positive in that they reduce the damage caused by the Government’s cack-handed approach to Brexit.
There is, however, one amendment which opens the possibility of Britain being a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), like Norway, which should not be supported. Norway is outside of the European Union but benefits from being part of most of the EU’s Single Market arrangements, but here are problems with the UK simply signing-up to the Single Market’s provisions.
The biggest problem is that Britain would be committing itself to a legally binding legislative relationship without any input into the law-making process. If we were to adopt such an approach, Britain would be agreeing to implement legislation without any representation.
Without Britain’s presence at the EU’s negotiating tables, it would be unwise to assume that the Single Market’s future development would always be to Britain’s benefit, especially if we had a radical Labour Government. Commitment to the Single Market in its entirety, today and in the future, would mean Britain always accepting each and every provision decided by the remaining 27 states of the EU, even if those measures were clearly against Britain’s national interest.
This is an important point because the Single Market is not just concerned with narrow commercial issues. As well as being about, for example, competition policy and the harmonisation of product standards, the concept of the Single Market is defined in a way which is broad enough to include aspects of employment law, Health and Safety and the outlawing of discrimination.
This leads me to the view that Labour should be careful about suggesting that Britain ought to sign-up to permanent ‘membership’ of the Single Market – the ‘cons’ as well as the ‘pros’ need to be carefully considered. Of course, we need a very close relationship with the EU and its Single Market post-Brexit, but the nature of that relationship needs to be thought through and carefully worked-out. There is no more important issue than our country’s long-term relationship with our European neighbours and the Single European Market; we must get it right.
This is an abridged version of an article I wrote for the Huffington Post. To read the whole article please click here.)
It has been another busy month in the constituency.
Hefin David AM and I had an opportunity to meet the recently appointed Chief Executive of GE Aircraft Engineering Services at Nantgarw. I was also pleased to attend a dinner in Cardiff celebrating the centenary of the RAF.
I was delighted to visit Tyn Y Wern Primary School in Trethomas and a celebration of the Royal Wedding at Nant Y Parc Primary School in Senghenydd.
I had enjoyable evenings attending a Festival of Military Music in the Pierhead Building Cardiff Bay, and the Aber Valley Heritage Trust concert at the YMCA in Abertridwr.
The Caerphilly Miners Centre held a well attended and successful consultation event on how best to develop the grounds at the Centre and I was pleased to be able to join to the event and contribute to the constructive discussions.
Caerphilly RFC held a presentation evening at which I was to here of the fantastic fund raising effort which has secured the club’s existence.
I was pleased to see a number of members coming out to support recent canvassing activity in Mornington Meadows, and we will notify member of future campaigning activity when it hoped a similar level of support will be forthcoming.