The Clean Air Bill, presented today by Geraint Davies MP in Parliament, is the first Private Members’ Bill to be presented on Budget Day since Tony Benn’s Chesterfield Borough Council (General Powers) Bill, in 1986.
Geraint Davies said
“I am pleased that 31 years after Tony Benn presented his Bill on Budget Day, I have the support of his son Hilary Benn for my Clean Air Bill today.
“The timing of the Bill will underline the critical importance of tackling premature deaths from air pollution in Britain, and I hope that as the Budget is billed as ‘the most boring ever’, it will help my Bill get a clean airing.
“40,000 people die prematurely from diesel pollution each year in the UK, according to the Royal College of Physicians, at a cost of £20 billion a year. It’s time for the Government to take decisive action. The big fear is that the Government will try to escape through the Brexit door, to avoid having to fulfil EU air quality standards, which have seen them in the dock of the High Court on four occasions, guilty as charged.
“My Bill has cross-party from over twenty MPs including the Lib Dem’s Tim Farron, SNP’s John McNally, and Conservative Derek Thomas. It comes ahead of a joint select committee inquiry on air pollution, and sets a blueprint for the UK’s new air quality strategy.”
Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West, yesterday hosted Swansea Council, Peers and other MPs to back Swansea’s bid to be crowned City of Culture 2021.
The reception was held in Parliament, and saw musical performances from 23-year-old Swansea-born pianist and composer Ify Iwobi, a 2016 young Welsh musician of the year; as well as the backing of artist Sir Peter Blake, best known for co-creating the world-famous sleeve design for the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The event was opened by Geraint Davies and saw speeches from Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, and Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales.
Geraint Davies said, “Swansea Bay is a global brand thanks to both our football success and as the birthplace of Wales’ most famous poet, Dylan Thomas. We boast a world class coastline, two universities and a hall of fame, from Anthony Hopkins to Michael Sheen, and Catherine Zeta-Jones to Katherine Jenkins.
“Swansea and South West Wales is one of the poorest regions in Europe, and would be given a rocket boost to further cultural success from being crowned UK City of Culture.
“I was delighted to welcome representatives from Swansea to showcase our bid to Parliamentarians, ahead of the judges’ decision next month. I will continue to campaign in Parliament for recognition of Swansea’s rich cultural history, and I hope that this recognition will take the form of being crowned UK City of Culture 2021.”
High powered public and private sector team unites to fight for rail electrification and Swansea Bay Metro
A meeting convened by Geraint Davies Swansea West met at Swansea University today to support the proposition
“We unite as businesses, councils, universities, MPs, AMs and other groups from Swansea Bay City Region and beyond in calling upon the U.K. Government to reinstate the commitment to rail electrification to Swansea alongside developing a Swansea Bay Metro system as part of a South Wales integrated transport system”
Said Geraint Davies MP “we brought together our two universities, businesses like Tata Steel and Admiral Insurance, the FSB, ASLEF, the councils of Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Bridgend plus Julie James AM, Rebecca Evans AM and Nia Griffiths MP to unite behind calling for Transport investment in Swansea Bay City Region that will be integrated and sustainable to deliver new prosperity.
“The Swansea Bay City Deal will increase the demand for journeys and the Swansea Metro includes proposal to reduce travel time to Cardiff by half an hour plus better connectivity across our City Region and beyond. With the uncertainty of Brexit we need Transport investment now to keep us moving forward and our fair share of funding as HS2 provides faster trains up and down England. We will not sit back and let money intended for rail electrification to Swansea be spent elsewhere. The business case for Swansea Bay Transport investment is stronger than ever and we will not rest until we get our fair share.”
Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West, challenged the Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns, in Parliament today.
Speaking in the Commons, Geraint Davies said, “Rail electrification from London to Cardiff will save 15 minutes on journey times, but the new Swansea Metro will save half an hour of journey time between Cardiff and Swansea. What’s more, the City Deal will create 10,000 new jobs and more passenger demand. So will the Minister look again at the business case for an electrified Swansea Metro between Swansea and Cardiff, to provide an environmentally friendly stronger future that will offset the negative impacts of HS2 for investment in South Wales?”
Responding to the question, the Welsh Secretary promised to look into the proposals and discuss them further.
Speaking after the debate, Geraint Davies said, “The reasons the government gave for breaking their promise to provide electrification form Cardiff to Swansea have been based on the idea that there’s no journey time saving from electrification.
“However as I pointed out in Parliament today, the current electrification journey time saving from London to Cardiff is only 15 minutes, while an electrified Swansea Metro would save 30 minutes between Cardiff and Swansea, giving an overall saving of 45 mins between London and Swansea. This is due to the rerouting of the line between Cardiff and Swansea.
“Taken together with the extra 10,000 jobs for the City Deal and more passenger numbers, the business case for electrification has been transformed. This is particularly important in the context of HS2’s investment in England. While HS2 costs £55 billion, the Swansea Metro could cost only £1 billion. Swansea deserves its share of the £55 billion spent in England, and the Metro allows regional connectivity as well as shorter journey times to Cardiff and London.”
The Parliamentary debate follows a high-level meeting with Swansea businesses, universities, councils and stakeholders organised by Geraint Davies last week.
Cross-party MPs support Bill presented today calling for referendum on EU Exit Package, with option to remain in the EU, days before Theresa May’s “Great Repeal Bill” – the EU Withdrawal Bill.
MPs from across Parliament have rallied behind the Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill, presented today by Labour MP Geraint Davies, which calls for the British people to have the final say on the UK-EU Exit Package. The Bill specifies that voters should have the option to remain in the EU if they believe the Exit Package is a bad deal.
The Bill is supported by Labour, Green and Lib Dem MPs, including Caroline Lucas and David Lammy, and had its first reading today. It comes the day before the Second Reading of the Government’s “Great Repeal Bill” for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Geraint Davies MP said,
“My Bill aims to make sure that people get what they voted for. The negotiated exit package should reasonably represent what the British public voted for in 2016. However this is threatened by the Government’s repeated failure to make any progress in exit negotiations, which puts our national future at risk of a bad deal.
“Therefore the British people have the right to a final say on the exit package, or to stay in the EU if a deal fails to meet what people want and reasonably expect.
“My Bill is presented the day before the Second Reading of Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill. There is growing momentum from across the political
spectrum to challenge May’s vision of a hard Brexit, and the cross-party support for my Bill illustrates that. The British people deserve a final say on the Government’s disastrous exit negotiations, and we will continue to fight for that in Parliament.”
The Bill was presented with the following short and long title:
Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill
A Bill to require the holding of a referendum to endorse the United Kingdom and Gibraltar exit package proposed by HM Government for withdrawal from the EU, or to decide to remain a member, following the formal EU exit negotiations; and for connected purposes.