Gerald Jones – standing up for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Over the past six 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.
It was a great privilege and honour to be re-elected as the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in the 12th December 2019 General Election, and I am extremely grateful to all those who put their faith in me. I am now continuing to work hard to stand up for our area, and represent all the people of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in Westminster.
I was born and raised in the village of Phillipstown in New Tredegar, in the Upper Rhymney Valley, in the 1970s.
The industrial decline of the 70s and 80s had a profound effect on me. Just a few years before I was born, Elliot Colliery in New Tredegar 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 society. So, in 1988, I joined the Labour Party.
As a Labour 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 also a member of the Co-operative Party and GMB Union.
I was elected to Caerphilly County Borough Council in 1995 as the councillor for New Tredegar, later serving as Deputy Leader on the Council. During my time as a councillor I maintained an active calendar of advice surgeries and attended many community events, being accessible to local residents. Now, as your Member of Parliament, I have remained open and accessible, holding regular advice surgeries right across the constituency every fortnight, as well as maintaining a staffed constituency office in the town centre and holding regular street advice surgeries across the area.
Through its toughest times, I have worked with community groups to build a better New Tredegar. I have driven campaigns and secured funding and support for the area’s renewal, through projects like the White Rose Centre and the Community House. I led these projects as a councillor, whilst using my experience in the third sector supporting voluntary groups with access to advice and assistance with funding applications.
Whilst serving as Cabinet Member for Housing on Caerphilly Council, I endeavoured to drive the Council’s commitment to enforcing the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) programme. I also served as the Anti-Poverty and 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 this hard-right Tory Government.
I was extremely proud to be elected to the House of Commons on May 5 2015, as the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. During my first two years as an MP, I served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in both the Shadow Wales and Shadow Defence Teams, and then as both a Shadow Wales and Shadow Defence Minister.
Over the last six 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 and local businesses. I’ve also taken part in the Police Service Parliamentary Scheme, which has given me a greater insight into the pressures of front line policing.
The campaign I fought during the Winter 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, and 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.