There is a mood of optimism in Westminster following the cabinet reshuffle. Upon entering government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a dynamic and ambitious vision to level up the whole of the country. With Brexit done, this reshuffle delivers a strong and united team as we recover from the pandemic – our biggest ever peacetime crisis – and get Britain back on the road to prosperity. On a personal note, I am delighted to be reappointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales. It’s a great honour to continue serving the government and I’m especially pleased to be doing so at the Wales Office. I have had a responsibility for dealing with the growth deals and £790m of investment into schemes across the whole of Wales. Many of these are now starting to come to fruition and I look forward to helping deliver these projects, which are going to bring jobs and growth to Wales.
Public health has always been at the heart of the UK Government’s international travel policy and with more than eight in ten adults fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce an updated system. A simpler, more straightforward approach for foreign travel has been announced in England; scrapping costly pre-departure and PCR tests for fully vaccinated passengers, and moving away from the ‘traffic light system’ towards an easier to understand travel list. These changes will allow more people to travel, see loved ones and conduct business around the world, while also providing a boost for the travel sector as we build back better from the pandemic. Travel is a devolved matter and (at the time of writing) we don’t yet know if the Welsh Government will follow England in relaxing rules over testing.
In another welcome return to normality, Usk Show was a huge success. Large numbers gathered to enjoy the many attractions and savour the simple pleasure of meeting old friends. I am sure I speak for many in wanting to congratulate the organisers who worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure the show went ahead. It was great to catch up with NFU Cymru and the FUW in particular – and I was pleased to wear my wheatsheaf pin badge in the House of Commons to celebrate Back British Farming Day last week. I have always been incredibly proud of our farmers who provide world-class produce, have the finest animal welfare standards, and serve as custodians for our environment and country.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 21 September 2021 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 22 September 2021*