Montgomeryshire candidates have their say at General Election hustings

Published date: 02 June 2017 |
Published by: Keri Trigg 
Read more articles by Keri Trigg  Email reporter


Glyn Davies, Jane Dodds and Aled Morgan Hughes. 

Three of Montgomeryshire's General Election hopefuls faced a grilling from the public at a hustings at Montgomery Town Hall last night, one week ahead of polling day.

Glyn Davies (Conservative), Jane Dodds (Liberal Democrat) and Aled Morgan Hughes (Plaid Cymru) were joined by representatives of Labour and the Green Party, whose candidates sent their apologies.

Iwan Wyn Jones (Labour) was represented by Bob Davies, and Richard Chaloner (Green) was represented by David Williams

To kick things off, each candidate briefly laid out what their priorities would be if elected.

Jane Dodds: "I believe passionately that we need to have more equality in our society. That we need to work to help each other, and be compassionate and reach out to those in need.

"There are challenges here in Montgomeryshire and nationally. There is Brexit, and coming out of the EU. Protecting businesses and farmers. Climate change is a huge challenge. It is important to me that we look at more renewable energy and good energy options for our children.

"We need good services for our communities in Montgomeryshire - that is so important. Social care is a big issue, we need to make sure that our vulnerable and our young people are looked after.

"I would work with others across parties, particularly in things like education and social care, because we need a cross-party approach with these issues."

Aled Morgan Hughes: "Despite being a proud Welshman, I was born in Shrewsbury hospital. My existence is in itself testament to the importance of cross-border healthcare. The safekeeping of this cross border service, particularly in Shrewsbury, would be a key issue for me.

"Plaid Cymru would fight to ensure the best deal possible for farmers here in Wales, and fight for every penny of farmers’ subsidies to be replaced, as was promised by the Leave campaign.

"A vital aspect is developing the dire infrastructure here in Mid Wales. I would fight for broadband signal upgrades.

"Mid Wales should be seen as the area that unites North and South Wales, rather than the area which divides it.

"We need to take real action in banning zero-hour contracts.

"Here in Montgomeryshire it is time for a fresh voice. I want to be Montgomeryshire's voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in Montgomeryshire.

Glyn Davies: "Over my seven years in Westminster, any issue to do with Wales I have been involved in.

"I have also become very involved in health service issues. The one big health issue I would be involved in is the reform of the NHS in Shropshire. That’s taken far too long. We need that decision taken fairly quickly.

"The dominating issue will be Brexit. I voted to leave but with a huge amount of uncertainty. I wanted my country back. I want to make sure the deal we have is good for the EU, Great Britain, Wales and Montgomeryshire."

David Williams: "I have seen Prime Minister’s Questions. What many people think is banter, I think is childish playground stuff. There is a lot of bickering and not a lot of adult discussion.

“We need to tackle climate change. Very few people want to talk about it and it is the deepest problem facing us. This government and the government before that did very, very little for it. The temperature of the globe is increasing with momentum. It’s the politicians who should be bothered, but they are not. 

“Our public services desperately need more money. We have heard this term ‘austerity’, we know we are getting less money for services. We need to stop parts of the NHS being privatised. We need to re-nationalise our utilities and transport. Where will the money come from? We can get £100 billion over the next 40 years by not having Trident."

Bob Davies: "Iwan is a young man who depends on a very small income. He is on a zero-hour contract. He is very concerned about the damage to social provision over the last government.

"These public services need to be financed. There have been a lot of complaints about increasing government expenditure but these things give people a better quality of life - care for when we are ill, care for the elderly.

"The austerity programme is a smoke screen for cutting back. I have got a degree in economics and I can tell you it’s nonsense."

After introductions, it was time to face questions from some of the 50 members of the public at Montgomery Town Hall.

Brexit

Glyn Davies: “I believe this will actually work out and I believe that we will end up with a reasonably successful deal. I want the best possible dea.

"I just feel optimistic, I don’t think we should concentrate on the worst-case scenario."

David Williams: "Brexit - what a mess. The Green party has said, and the Liberal Democrats have said, that whatever deal is made within the two-year period of Article 50, we should be able to vote whether we accept that deal or whether we feel remaining a member of the EU is preferred.

"I believe we were given a choice last year on some pretty shocking evidence. We know now that the agriculture industry relies on immigrants and there are other areas that we enjoy the benefits of immigration, or going to live and work in Europe."

Jane Dodds: "I voted remain, I’m not ashamed to say it. The Liberal Democrats were the only party that campaigned to stay in the EU. Both campaigns were shocking and very poor.

"The people should have the final decision, not the politicians. Staying in the customs union and the single market is so important for our businesses, for our farmers.

"Those people who are from the EU who are here – 4,000 doctors and nurses in from the EU work in our health services in Wales – should be guaranteed the right to stay."

Aled Morgan Hughes: "I voted remain, but I have accepted the result and now we need to make the best of it. A strong team of Plaid Cymru MPs would work tirelessly to ensure the best deal for Wales in the post-Brexit world.

"We need to stay in the single market, it would be absolutely disastrous for us to leave. We could face tariffs of over 40 per cent."

Bob Davies: "The government didn’t have a plan for what would happen if people voted leave. We are not going back on it – there will be riots on the street.

"Do you want someone who changes her mind all the time, or someone who is committed? Negotiation is not battle and conflict. We have only got two alternatives – Corbyn or May."

Infrastructure and economy

Glyn Davies: "Mid Wales today is absolutely transformed from what it was. The road links, we all have the same views here. The UK government has agreed to work on the main road linking us to the Midlands – but it is a Welsh road with about 10 per cent in England, so we need them to agree to pay for their part."

Jane Dodds: "We need to look at keeping our young people here. We need to ban zero-hour contracts. I think we need to promote working in the public sector, it is one of the biggest employers in Mid Wales.

"We need to support our businesses and look at apprenticeships. Montgomeryshire should have a ‘Centre of Excellence’, to showcase the skills we have here, and I want it to be linked to the Welsh language.

"We need better housing, for young people to stay here and have access to better housing. Linked to that is roads and transport links."

Aled Morgan Hughes: "I like to think I am a young person – at least I was before this election – and it does worry me massively, the lack of opportunities we see here.

"Zero-hour contracts for example. Plaid Cymru has put a motion in to the Welsh Government to ban them in the health sector seven times, and each time it has been voted against by the Labour government."

Bob Davies: "There are very, very serious problems associated with under-funding. We want to create a National Investment Bank in the UK, to do what our high street banks have failed to do since the crash. It will be co-operative and responsive to small businesses."

Bombing Syria, refugees and arms exports

Glyn Davies: "The Prime Minister at the time wanted to launch a military strike against Damascus – I didn’t vote for that and they backed down completely.

"There was another vote that came two years later to send planes to Syria, but no innocent people have been killed. It was on the basis of us condemning the poison gas attack on innocent people."

Aled Morgan Hughes: "The three Plaid Cymru MPs opposed bombing Syria. To quote Tony Benn, if you have got enough money to bomb people, you have got enough money to help people.

"We have always opposed Trident. Back in time it was easy to bomb a country, because it has a geographical location. But bombing an idea is a lot more difficult to do."

Jane Dodds: I was very upset when the UK government agreed to bomb Syria. Bombs hurt innocent people but they don’t solve or bring us any conclusion in relation to these issues.

"Almost half of the country are now refugees. How disgusted I am with the conservative government and its attitude to refugees, especially separated children. I have worked with young refugees for a long time. They need our help. Any day, this could happen to any of us.

"I am disgusted at Theresa May for supporting further export of arms to Saudi Arabia that are used to bomb Yemen.”

Bob Davies: "Our leader has a consistent record of opposing aggression. The situation in Syria is so distressing."

Environment and renewable energy

David Williams: "What was the first thing Mrs May did when she became Prime Minister? The Department of Energy and Climate Change - it’s gone.

"We need to look at the pollution coming from nuclear power. We will see a new power station, thanks to Glyn, who’s on the Wales Committee, which has already agreed to it. Everyone has the right to clean air and clean water - but tell that to the fracking companies.

"I look at the sun and the wind, they carry energy so what's wrong with harnessing them? I don't see anything wrong with turbines - why waste the energy that is around us?"

Jane Dodds: "I haven't changed my mind on this. I strongly believe that we need renewable energy. But I don't want any wind turbines to spoil our landscapes, they should be hidden."

Tourism, farming and industry

Jane Dodds: "I want to see a Centre of Excellence to link in with our tourism industry.

"The single market is something that I think is absolutely vital to our farmers. We recognise that farmers in Wales export 65 per cent of produce to the EU."

David Williams: "The Green Party is very concerned about agriculture - with the effects of global warming and reliance on fossil fuels.

"We would like to see less fertiliser used, and I think that's the way agriculture in this area might go but it is a huge problem."

"The main problem with tourism in Montgomeryshire is we are too far from the sea."

NHS and public services

Glyn Davies: "What we need in Shropshire is one hospital over two sites. Shropshire cannot sustain two fully fledged hospitals. Both need to have an emergency centre, but the main one should be in Shrewsbury.

"The MP for Montgomeryshire has a real role in this."

Jane Dodds: "We should not have food banks at all, it is a disgraceful symbol of our society that people are so poor they are having to use them.

"With the NHS, we will ensure that Welsh patients are not treated as second class citizens, waiting longer for treatment than English patients.

"We need an urgent health centre in Montgomeryshire. We also need more GPs."

  • See full story in the County Times

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