As our economy and society begin to re-start, the Labour Party needs to start preparing for next year’s elections to our Senedd or Welsh Parliament. I have been shortlisted to be one of Welsh Labour’s regional list candidates in those elections.
Over the last few months, in my day job, I’ve been working to protect the care sector as much as possible from the impact of Covid-19 and then ensure we learn the lessons of what worked and what didn’t. The Welsh approach has been different to bumbling Boris: Ministers have been prepared to listen, explain their rationale, and revise their opinions based on the evidence. But I’ve still had to fight for care homes to have access to testing, and even when policies officially changed, push to ensure that testing actually happened across Wales and that results were received in a timely manner. I gave evidence to the Senedd Health, Social Care and Sport Committee on 7th May about failures in terms of PPE, testing and funding and said we need to follow WHO advice: “Testing. It’s got to be testing, and regular testing”. I’m pleased we’re moving towards solutions on all those issues, and I’ve made public my fury at Boris Johnson’s betrayal of care workers in the new immigration legislation. I am Vice Chair of the North Wales Regional Partnership Board for Health & Social Care and I sit on the North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council. I’ve got an understanding and knowledge of issues right across the region and a track record of speaking out and getting things done: all experience I would draw on to stand up for North Wales if I were elected to the Senedd.
We know next year’s election will be a tough fight. Our regional list candidates will need to have the commitment and experience to support our constituency candidates and maximise the Labour vote right across North Wales. To ensure maximum Labour representation we need as many people as possible to vote three times for Labour next May: with their constituency ballot, regional ballot and Police & Crime Commissioner ballot. That representation matters. The result in December means we have another term of Tory government from Westminster which cares little for the people who are struggling. A Welsh Labour Government is the best, albeit dented, shield we have to protect the people of Wales from the worst of Boris Johnson’s Tories.
I joined the party as a teenager because I was appalled by Margaret Thatcher’s premiership and I’m just as appalled now – if not more so. Throughout my life I’ve campaigned for Labour: together we can change things for the better. As the lead regional list candidate in North Wales in 2016, I campaigned in all nine constituencies across the region and took part in hustings and media events where I held my own against sitting AMs from other parties. I’m committed to doing the same again if selected this time.
Last December I was the Labour & Co-operative candidate in Wrexham. I was only selected at the beginning of November and worked with the constituency party to get a campaign up and running fast and in just under six weeks came as close as other marginal seats to holding on. Since then, I’ve been one of the commissioners who produced the Labour Together General Election Review which brought together people from across the UK and across the party to learn from what happened and set out a path to future victory. The clearest lesson is that we need to be united, presenting a coherent, credible alternative to the Tories and I am ready and willing to play my part in that.
Thank you for reading and I hope when ballot papers arrive on 3rd August you will vote for me.