First Minister Mark Drakeford visited Caerphilly last week as part of Welsh Labour’s Senedd Election campaign.
Mr Drakeford, leader of Welsh Labour, paid a visit to Caerphilly Miners’ Centre, where he spoke to the centre’s secretary, Katherine Hughes, about the centre’s future plans.
He was joined by Hefin David, who has served as the Senedd Member for Caerphilly since 2016 and is seeking re-election.
Caerphilly Observer spoke to Mr Drakeford about some of the key issues in the upcoming election.
“The choice in this election is actually very straightforward on this issue. You have the Tories who don’t believe in Wales, you have Plaid Cymru who don’t believe in the United Kingdom, and you’ve the Labour Party that believes in both.
“A strong Wales in a successful United Kingdom – that’s what we will be standing for – and that is where I firmly believe the bulk of Welsh opinion is.
“People are proud of the fact that we have a Senedd, that we’ve been able to take decisions here in Wales into our own hands and do things in a way that are right for us. But they also believe that our future is better secured by being part of a United Kingdom that works for all parts of the United Kingdom.
“I don’t think the devolution journey is over, I think there are more things that would make complete sense coming here.
“I was a probation officer a long time ago and I remember coming to Caerphilly – where we would have branch meetings – and we were arguing before devolution even began that the probation service ought to be run here in Wales.
“I’ve always argued myself that the journey to devolution of the justice system is one that you can take step-by-step.
“You don’t have to absorb it all in one go at the beginning. You start with the things that are closest to what we’re already doing, make a good job of those and then move on to see what would follow next.
“So the devolution journey isn’t over in that way. But the real, more urgent issue at the moment is to make sure that the powers we have, the responsibilities we deploy, are entrenched and can’t be rolled back, as the current Conservative government of Westminster is attempting to do every day.
“We are having to defend the devolution settlement. I think over the period to come that is where the action will be.”
“The first thing to say is that coronavirus is not over – the global pandemic isn’t over.
“Every day you read stuff in the newspapers about the way in which coronavirus is coming back in countries that thought they had managed to see it off. So, we will continue as a Welsh Government, if we are re-elected, with the careful step-by-step approach we have taken – not acting as though coronavirus is a thing of the past.
“If we did that, chances are very high you we would throw away all the ground that we have worked so hard to gain. If we can continue as we are at the moment, with figures falling every day, then we will be able to move on to the next things that we will want to reopen.
“Outdoor hospitality is due to reopen before the end of this month. If we make a success of that, I really hope that before the Whitsun half term in May, we will be able to reopen some aspects of indoor hospitality.
“We’ve started to reopen the tourism industry and we want to do more of that in May, but it will be incremental thinking of the things that are the best next steps, carefully monitoring them to make sure they’re not having the effect of bringing the virus back again, and provided we can hold on to that and make that happen, then there will be further steps beyond that as well.”
- Labour’s Jeff Cuthbert re-elected as Gwent’s Police and Crime Commissioner
- Regional Senedd Members for South Wales East confirmed
- Labour holds Islwyn: Rhianon Passmore re-elected
- Caerphilly re-elects Labour’s Hefin David as its Senedd Member
- Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney re-elects Labour’s Dawn Bowden as its Senedd Member
Stay informed with quality, independent, local journalism…that matters
We believe the public should be informed about their community, coherently and with context. However, running a professional news service comes at a financial cost.
We are asking readers for their support to help us develop and grow our service.
Our membership costs from just £3 a month and in return, you can use our website without adverts.
Become a member – cancel anytime