From Stephen Kinnock MP <[email protected]>
Subject February 2020 Newsletter
Date February 25, 2020 2:54 PM
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** February 2020 Newsletter

** HS2 and Aberavon


The Government's handling of HS2 has been nothing short of shambolic and a decision on the project was long overdue.

While the announcement is good news for the areas HS2 will benefit, for Aberavon the decision once again shows the contempt in which the Government holds us.

We were promised rail electrification to Swansea. It was a Tory manifesto commitment in 2017 and the Welsh Secretary made the same commitment on Question Time in 2016, but the Government reneged on this promise, stopping electrification at Cardiff. The entire budget for electrifying the main line to Swansea would be less than 1% of the vast sums that will go on HS2.

When the Prime Minister made his announcement I challenged him in the Commons to commit to electrifying the main line to Swansea. He responded with his usual bluff and bluster, talking about north Wales and then changing the subject.

HS2 will use an estimated two million tonnes of steel over the next ten years, from track to rolling stock, to bridges and tunnels. The use of UK steel in this project would support over 2,000 steel jobs and deliver £1.5billion to the UK economy. It’s crucial that the benefits of this project are felt in steel communities across the UK, including Port Talbot, and not just along the route. We need a commitment that HS2 will use UK steel.

** This Month Around Parliament

Trump’s ‘Peace Deal’

Donald Trump’s so called ‘peace deal’ for the Middle-East is nothing of the sort, it’s an annexation plan which would take us further away from peace and usher in the law of the jungle.

Twice I pushed for the Government to stand up to the US President and oppose his plan. If we don’t then we will effectively be giving a green light to Russia and China for their various annexation activities.

World Cancer Day

It was great talking to Cancer Research at their parliamentary drop-in about the critical, lifesaving work they do in the fight to beat cancer. Their cutting edge research and vital campaigns that raise awareness on the importance of early diagnosis make us ever closer to beating the Big C! I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer.

Welsh Regiments’ Reception

It was great to hear from the Welsh Cavalry and Royal Welsh about their vitally important work for national security, recruitment and the educational opportunities on offer.

We heard inspiring personal stories from those in the army and in the reserves.

Industrial Communities Alliances Report

I spoke at the launch of the Industrial Alliance’s new report on rebuilding the economy of Britain’s older industrial towns and supporting towns like Port Talbot. For 40 years we’ve seen wealth and talent move from towns to cities. The city-centric model isn’t working: London is the richest area in northern Europe but the UK also has the 5 poorest areas.

All Party Parliamentary Groups

I was honoured to be elected secretary of the reconstituted APPG for Steel. I was also re-elected Chair of the Post-Brexit Funding group, which is fighting to ensure that Aberavon sees all of its EU funding replaced by UK government funding, as promised. I’ve also been elected Chair of the APPG for Palestine, meaning I’ll be fighting hard for justice for Palestinian people in the face of often brutal actions by the Israeli government.

** This Month Across Aberavon

• The end of January was busy. It started with a visit to Coedffranc Primary to see the refurbishment work that has been done on the school building. I went on to speak with pupils who have been working to set up their own businesses.

• I followed this up with a visit to the steelworks to discuss media reports on the future of the works, investment plans, action needed by the government on energy prices, carbon-neutral steelmaking and the use of UK steel in government projects.

• My first advice surgery of 2020 in Sandfields library was busy, with lots to follow up with for constituents.

• I then attended the excellent launch of Vernon Place Community Hub and we were treated to the wonderful harmonies of Llansawel Bowls Club Choir. It’s an absolutely fantastic hive of community activities right in the heart of Briton Ferry. When I last visited them back in October they were working really hard to turn the old Llansawel school into a community hub they’ve done an amazing job.

• I co-signed a letter with other Welsh Labour MPs to the Welsh Rugby Union calling on it to do everything it can to keep Welsh matches on free-to-air television in the forthcoming negotiations of the broadcasting rights for the Six Nations tournament.

• January ended with a visit to St Joseph’s for a question and answer session with pupils. They grilled me on why I became interested in politics, what my average day looks like, votes at 16, climate change and what young people can do in the local area.

** Media Highlights

I appeared on Sky News’ All Out Politics ([link removed]) opposite Harriet Baldwin MP to discuss the Government’s decision to allow Huawei to access our 5G network, albeit with restrictions, and how it is concerning for our national security.

I took part in the Commons People podcast for the Huffington Post. We talked about the Labour leadership contest, the United Kingdom leaving the European Union at the end of January, the future UK-EU relationship post-Brexit and Boris Johnson-ism.

I took part in LBC’s Cross Question ([link removed]) debate with Penny Mordaunt MP, Anna Soubry and Matthew Elliot. We talked about the future UK-EU relationship post-Brexit, the Huawei decision and why Lisa Nandy is the person best placed to rebuild Labour’s support and oust Boris Johnson.

I was on the Politics Live ([link removed]) panel alongside Siobhan Baillie MP, Deborah Mattinson and Darren Grimes. We discussed the Government’s response to coronavirus, the allegations that Kier Starmer’s team breached data rules and Sinn Fein’s success at the Irish General Election and whether that means we are closer to an all-Ireland poll.
All the best,

Stephen Kinnock
MP for Aberavon

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