My regular newspaper column: Your MP Writes

Following the terrible Grenfell Tower tragedy in London, we once again saw the incredible bravery of our firefighters and the overwhelming acts of public generosity. Bron Afon Community Housing responded very quickly to local concerns about their own high-rise blocks in the Cwmbran area with a full statement about how they approach fire safety. As an MP, I have sometimes had to cross swords with housing associations but I have every confidence in Bron Afon’s commitment to putting the safety of tenants before profits and I thank them for providing such important reassurances.

I am extremely grateful to the electors of Monmouth for returning me with a slightly bigger vote share, although the overall result nationally was by no means a triumph for the Conservatives. However, the Conservative Party won more seats than any other party and has every right to form a government. Governments are formed on the basis of who can command a majority in Parliament, not who did better or worse than expected; and definitely not on the basis of who can bring the largest number of protestors onto the streets (as some people seem to think).

The first job facing Theresa May’s government will be to begin Brexit negotiations. EU officials keep taking to the press to demand large sums of money that they are “owed” by the UK. Perhaps ministers should remind them that we borrowed vast sums of money from the Americans during and after World War Two in order to pay for the task of liberating countries like Belgium from Nazi aggression. On top of the horrendous loss of life, the financial cost was enormous. Britain did not finish paying off the US war debt until 2006 – long after we entered the EU. It is frankly a disgrace to hear EU officials, many of whom I suspect have spent their lives working as well paid bureaucrats in Brussels, demanding that British taxpayers cough up billions. I am sure our ministers will point this out, albeit it more diplomatically than I probably would…

After being declared an MP in the early hours of Friday morning, it was great to be back the next day saying a few words to open the Shirenewton village fete and judging the ‘most handsome dog’ contest. There are serious aspects to the job but that should not stop it from having its lighter moments.

*Published in the South Wales Argus on 19 June 2017*