Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
The Tory Party and government has descended into chaos.
Following yet another scandal and a mass of resignations last week, the Prime Minister was finally dragged kicking and screaming to a lectern outside No.10 to announce what appeared to be a promise that he would be leaving office in the autumn.
As I said in the House last week, he has to leave now, he cannot cling on for months. He is unfit to be Prime Minister. He is unfit to govern.
Not to mention that we now know that he met with KGB agent in private following the Salisbury poisonings, something I also raised in the House last week.
We are left with a total of £423,000 being handed to Conservative Ministers who resigned as severance pay. Taxpayers’ money being spent to tidy up Conservative infighting.
We have a string of Tory leadership contestants scurrying to distance themselves from the current mess as though they haven’t also been part of this rotten regime.
This isn’t just about Boris Johnson and it can’t just be a case of swapping the Tory at the top and pretending things will be different.
Britain deserves better.
We need new start, a General Election and a Labour Government in power.
This week Keir Starmer delivered a speech outlining his vision for such a fresh start, which you can read in full here.
I was so pleased to be able to officially open the new Cyber Security Hub and course at Coleg Gwent, Ebbw Vale recently. It was great to see the realisation of a project that began life in my office four years at a meeting with two Fujitsu employees from Brynmawr.
I wrote about how the idea came to life and the opportunities it opens up for young people in a piece for the South Wales Argus recently.
I am delighted that young people in Blaenau Gwent have this fantastic new facility and course on their doorsteps, providing a path into well-paid, skilled jobs in an incredibly fast growing sector where tens of thousands of new jobs are opening up every year.
The strong links being forged between the college, local junior schools, Thales, Fujitsu, Admiral and other firms is very encouraging and something I hope that see being expanded on.
The tech centre in Ebbw Vale, including the Thales National Digital Exploitation Centre and new ResilientWorks lab, is putting Blaenau Gwent at the spearhead of plans for Wales to be a world class centre of excellence for digital and cyber security and this course will give our young people the skills they need to be a part of it.
A few weeks ago I joined steelworkers to meet with representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority at Bedwellty House in Tredegar to discuss the proposed redress scheme for those ripped off in the British Steel pension scheme scandal.
I’ve led the campaign on this and have been calling for a redress scheme for some time, so I am keen that the regulators get this right.
After another meeting with the regulators in Parliament I responded to the consultation via a letter that received cross-party support from 26 MP colleagues from steelmaking areas.
I also questioned the former head of the FCA (and current Governor of the Bank of England) Andrew Bailey about the handling of the scandal as it unfolded in 2017.
You can see the full Public Accounts Committee hearing here.
My office is continuing to receive emails and calls from people who are worried about not getting their new passports before their holiday, despite having applied in plenty of time.
I raised one case as an example and also challenged the Home Office Minister to confirm that the passport backlog will be cleared before the start of the school summer holidays.
Ministers are ducking questions and not admitting the scale of the problem here.
We need a realistic plan to get this sorted or it is only going to get worse, with more families’ holidays thrown into jeopardy due to this government’s shocking lack of foresight.
I’m continuing my push for Blaenau Gwent to have access to superfast gigabit broadband, and closing the widening gap between big cities and areas like ours.
This is crucial not just so that everyone has the best connections possible at home, but also for businesses here and in attracting further interest in our developing tech hub in Ebbw Vale.
I wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), once again setting out how Blaenau Gwent is being left by the Department’s gigabit broadband rollout.
I also spoke about the work that needs to be done to promote and properly implement the voucher scheme for areas with poor broadband and have invited Building Digital CEO Paul Norris to come to Blaenau Gwent and work with me on this.
You can watch my questions here.
It was fantastic to once again be part of the Bevan Festival celebrations in Tredegar, celebrating Nye Bevan and the political history of our valleys.
It was such a successful weekend thanks to brilliant work of Tredegar Town Council, Unite Wales and the TUC in putting it together.
It was especially good to be joined by Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting MP, for the parade through the town, and to see Eluned Morgan MS open the brilliant new Tredegar Heritage Centre.
Tredegar hosted another fantastic Armed Forces Day earlier this month, an event to recognise all those servicemen and women who step up to put on a uniform and help keep us safe.
I was honoured to be asked to attend the official opening of Brynmawr Foundation School’s brilliant new 3G pitch.
It will be a great asset not just for schoolchildren but also for local sports clubs.
Well done to everyone involved in bringing this fantastic new facility to the area – Blaenau Gwent Council, Sports Wales, the FAW, the WRU and Hockey Association Wales.
It was good to help out councillors with a community litter pick in the streets around the Abertillery war memorial a few weeks ago.
If anyone wants me to help arrange a similar event in their area please drop me an email at email@example.com
Thanks to Abertillery Library for hosting my most recent advice surgery.
If anyone was unable to make it but want to speak with me about anything I may be able to help with, you can always drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office on 01495 313167.