Welcome to the first of my weekly round-ups. This will be a chance for you to see a snapshot of my week both in Westminster and in the constituency. These little diary entries will happen throughout the year when Parliament is sitting. So, without further ado here’s my inaugural round-up!

I kicked off the week by raising awareness of historic discrimination in boxing, appearing on GB News with my constituent Nick to discuss the appalling treatment of his relative, Cuthbert Taylor. Historic discrimination in boxing is something I have been raising in Parliament for a number of years. Cuthbert Taylor is something of a local sporting legend in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney – an amateur and then professional boxer, he had over 500 bouts in a 20-year career across Wales, the UK, and Europe. Despite a very successful and exciting career, Cuthbert never got the same recognition on a national or international scale as other boxers. Why? Because of the colour of his skin. Cuthbert Taylor was judged at the time to be “not white enough to be British” by the British Boxing Board of Control, and he was prevented from ever challenging for a British title or a world title professionally by the body’s ‘colour bar’ rule, which was in place between 1911 and 1948. Cuthbert’s family are asking for recognition from the boxing authorities of the horrendous ‘colour bar’ that prevented Cuthbert from pursuing all he could in his chosen career and an apology for the injustice, however historic. We owe men like Cuthbert that much.

I was pleased to join the Llafur 100 event this week in Parliament to celebrate 100 years of Welsh Labour. Welsh Labour shows us what a Labour Government can bring to us – it puts the priorities of the people at the forefront of our politics: a recognition that communities that are strong, well-fed, and with access to well-paid jobs are the building blocks that strengthen the country as a whole. Marking these anniversaries is important because it gives us an opportunity to reflect on our successes and rekindle our shared drive to be the best political party in Great Britain for securing future prosperity, security and respect for all.

Many of you will have witnessed the chaos at the Passport Office. It’s a shocking indictment of a UK Tory Government that has created a backlog Britain. I spoke in a debate about the significant impacts it is having on constituents in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. There is no doubt that the Home Office under this Government is, or at least it should be, in special measures. The shambolic way in which the Government have handled the situation is symbolic of their messy approach. The Home Office was warned that a surge in passport applications was likely as early as November last year, but it completely failed to do the forward planning needed to prevent the chaos that we have seen over the past few months. Now the Home Office is paying millions of pounds for failing outsourced contracts across the Passport Office, including a courier service that loses hundreds of passports every year. The Government also estimated that 1,700 staff would be needed, but we have heard that only 1,000 new recruits have been confirmed. This is yet another example of this UK Government’s organisational incompetence and the colossal waste of public money on private companies who are incapable of fulfilling contracts.

Today, I was pleased to spend some time out and about in Merthyr Tydfil and the Rhymney. I was thrilled to visit the community beekeepers of the Merthyr Tydfil and District Naturalist Society at the Bothy in Cyfarthfa Park. We are incredibly lucky in our constituency for the industrial heritage that combines with the beautiful countryside in our surrounding area. It was fascinating to see the bees and to learn more about what incredible creatures they are. We are so reliant on our bees for pollinating our plants – that includes those from which we get our fruit, vegetables, and flowers. You can find out more by following the Merthyrnats on Facebook.

It was fantastic to visit the pupils and staff at Ysgol Gymraeg Rhyd-Y-Grug as well today. The students of class 3&4 recently wrote to me about the amazing Amazon rainforest. They had been learning about the many animals that live in the rainforest and the important role it plays in providing oxygen for the whole planet. In Wales, the Welsh Government is planting more trees to help tackle the climate crisis through plans for a new National Forest in Wales. For every child born or adopted in Wales, the Welsh Government plants a tree – you can find yours at https://bit.ly/FindMyPlantTree. I feel fairly certain that among them are some budding environmental campaigners, possibly some biologists and zoologists, and maybe even a couple of politicians who will run Westminster in a few years!!

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing gerald.jones.mp@parliament.uk or by calling on 01685 383739.

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