-I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the people of the Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney constituency for the support that they gave to the Labour Party at the General Election on 8th June and in turn re-electing me to represent the constituency in Westminster.-
Over the past two years it has been a privilege to serve as the Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, a constituency where I was born, raised and still live.
I was born and raised in the village of Phillipstown in New Tredegar, just outside of Rhymney in the 1970’s.
The industrial decline of the 1970’s and 1980’s had a profound effect on me. Just a few years before I was born the last of New Tredegar’s 5 pits closed, and by the age of 14 I was drawn into community action by the greatest social issue of the decade, the Miners strike. I believed then as I do now that through our communities we can build a fairer world.
So in 1988 I joined the Labour Party.
As a party activist I have chaired both the New Tredegar Branch and the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney Constituency Labour Party. I have been proud to stand alongside Labour activists fighting for a better Britain and championing social justice across the constituency. I'm alsoa member of the GMB and the Co Op Party.
I was elected to Caerphilly County Borough Council in 1995 as the councillor for New Tredegar, my home and where I live to this day. For 20 years I’ve held an active calendar of advice surgeries and attended many community events – being accessible to local residents. As Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney I intend to remain open and accessible to my constituents, just as I have done as a Councillor and a community activist in New Tredegar.
I have worked hard with many community groups in the village to build a better New Tredegar in some of its toughest times. Through this I have driven many campaigns and secured funding and support for the renewal of the area through projects like the White Rose Centre and the Community House I drove these projects on as a Councillor whilst using my experiences in the third sector supporting voluntary and community groups with access to advice and assistance with funding applications.
Whilst serving as Cabinet Member for Housing, I was committed to driving the Councils commitment to enforcing the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) programme. I also served as the Anti Poverty & Homelessness Champion.
These commitments serve my campaign to improve our constituency, to grapple with the major issues of poverty that blight our communities. The last Labour government made important commitments to eliminate child poverty and empower people from all backgrounds to achieve success. These values are not shared by the last Tory government.
I was extremely proud to be elected to the House of Commons on May 5 2015, as the MP for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney. During my first two years as an MP, I served as a PPS in both the Shadow Wales & Shadow Defence Teams and latterly as a Shadow Wales & also a Shadow Defence Minister.
Over the last two years as MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, alongside a calendar of fortnightly advice surgeries, I have played an active role in the constituency forging strong links with community groups, schools & local businesses. I've also taken part in the Police Service Parliamentary Scheme, giving him a greater insight to the pressures of front line Policing.
I was extremely pleased to be re-elected with an increased majority on June 8th 2017. The campaign I fought during the General election is the same campaign I've been fighting since I joined the Labour Party. It’s a campaign to make our area a better place to live. It’s a campaign to ensure that we all have a home fit to live in. It’s a campaign to make sure that everybody has a chance to succeed.
It’s a campaign that’s taken me from the streets of New Tredegar to the corridors of Westminster. It’s a campaign that will, in the end, win out against all the odds. I know the campaign trail never ends, but as a campaigner since the age of 14 I know that I'll never stop working to make Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney a better and fairer place to live.
It has been an honour to represent our constituency in the House of Commons for the last two years, and over the next Five years I hope to work hard to help build the society in which we all deserve to live.