The MP for Islwyn has paid tribute to campaigners in Parliament, following news that plans to close Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre have been put on hold.
Chris Evans MP also called on the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, to make time for a debate about the wider issue of access to sports and leisure facilities.
Mr Evans said: “Campaigners fighting to save Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre were heartened by news this week that Caerphilly County Borough Council cabinet will pause the closure.
“However, that is not an isolated case.
“Other campaign groups have contacted me who are fighting to save their leisure services.
“With an obesity crisis in this country and participation in sport down, can we have an urgent debate in this house on access to sport and leisure?”
Mr Rees-Mogg responded by saying the issue raised was a “serious point”, and that it is a “good idea” to secure a debate.
“He could request an adjournment debate, but I think the best ?route to go down would be a Backbench Business debate, because he may want a longer debate, and the issue has a wider application than purely his own constituency,” Mr Rees-Mogg added.
It comes after interim leader of the council, Cllr Barbara Jones, announced plans to close the leisure centre would be deferred.
The announcement followed a sustained campaign of opposition to closure by centre users, and a ruling in May by a High Court judge which forced the council to halt its closure plan, on the grounds that it had failed in its equality duty when making the decision.
Speaking after the debate in Parliament, Mr Evans said: “The decision to put on hold plans to close Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre is the right one.
“I am pleased that the cabinet and interim leader, Barbara Jones, have listened to feedback rather than stubbornly pushing ahead with this plan.
“I am really proud of the hard work of the community in this effort.
“I know that there are many who will be very grateful to them.”