MPs from across the UK have returned to Westminster this week, with summer recess now over. As politicians share stories of what they did over the holidays, compare their new pencil cases and start to wear in their new shoes, we caught up with Pembrokeshire’s MPs to find out what their priorities will be for the coming year.
Simon Hart MP continues his campaign on broadband rollout, albeit in a bit less ‘bullish’ way than previous years, saying that despite the rollout scheme being a ‘success story’ it is ‘still slow’. He also once again sees the economy as a main priority for Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South over the next year, with his constituency correspondence showing that people remain concerned as to job security, setting up local businesses and growing their family within the area.
Meanwhile, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb sees broadband and transport connections as his big issues to tackle within the county. The rollout of superfast broadband, he notes, across the rural stretches of the county is a vital priority and a more ‘immediate win’ that can be achieved.
Last time we spoke to Mr Crabb of course, he’d been running to be the new Conservative Leader and Prime Minister, and had subsequently stood down from Government in the wake of reports about alleged sex-texts in the Times. He told us that the summer had offered him a chance to focus on family life from a position that he’s happy with.
Having both stood in the Conservative Remain camp, the county’s politicians agree that the country faces a challenge and some tough decisions in terms of Brexit, too. Stephen Crabb told us that it’s an issue he’d be taking a close interest in and that to him, it’s important that the negotiated terms of Brexit should give the best chance of economic success to Britain, but also to Wales and West Wales. He said that he wanted clarity over what our farming community will be getting in terms of access to the single market and what support there will be for agricultural and environmental projects locally.
Simon Hart also emphasised the importance of Pembrokeshire’s needs when discussing Brexit, saying that he would have to consider the impact of Brexit on tourism, agriculture, businesses on the Milford Haven Waterway and other key issues across West Wales when making any decisions regarding the future outcomes of the EU Referendum.
It’s constituency work that dominates both MPs priorities for the coming year however, with Simon Hart insisting that he’s ‘really keen’ to encourage people to get in touch and voice their opinions on local matters. Stephen Crabb is also looking to fully dive into Pembrokeshire business, telling us that his ‘core job’ is representing his constituency. He reflected on a ‘year of turbulence’ in both his political and personal life as giving him a chance to support the government from the backbenches, focus on family life, plus ‘throw weight’ into constituency issues.
You can hear our full interviews with both Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb and Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South MP Simon Hart, below.