The Assembly campaign and looking ahead to the European Referendum

What a hectic few weeks it’s been, locally and nationally, since my last column. Mick Antoniw, my friend and colleague has been returned as our AM here in Ponty, and on Labour’s behalf I’d like to thank everyone who put their faith in us and their cross next to Mick’s name. I’m looking forward to continuing my partnership in doing all we can to stand up for Pontypridd, for Wales and for our Labour values. I think the next few years will see Pontypridd really turn the corner, with new jobs and investments coming to replace the heavy industry that left too long ago.

Mick, of course, had a ringside view for the extraordinary goings on in Cardiff Bay a fortnight ago. Who would have thought that Leanne Wood and Plaid Cymru would try to cut a deal with UKIP!? I’ve had people coming up to me right across South Wales just amazed that Plaid could have thought people would accept their trying to steal the Welsh Government away from Labour with the support of UKIP and, worse, the Tories!! Quite what the Rhondda will have made of Leanne working with the Party of Margaret Thatcher is for others to judge. But I know some of my friends in Pandy, who voted for her, are distinctly unimpressed!

It’s a shame because I want Plaid to be able to make a strong case alongside Welsh Labour for Wales to stay in the European Union when we vote again next month, and their ability to make that case is weakened by talking out of both sides of their mouth.
I think the Prime Minister and George Osbourne- who are campaigning to Remain in the EU- are guilty of fighting the debate on ‘Project Fear’. Labour will campaign on facts and we will set out a progressive alternative to Tory infighting. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be out speaking to voters and delivering our tabloid newspaper making the case for staying in the EU and the benefits we see both locally and nationally.

And here in Ponty, this very week, we’ve got a great example of one of the small benefits that EU membership can bring. The Ponty Lido (or the baths, as I still like to call it!) opens on Saturday. It was refurbished only because of £3 million of EU funds. Remember that when you take your first dip of the Summer – and when you enter the polling booths on June 23!



Owen Smith MP Welsh Labour MP for Pontypridd
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