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Haverfordwest: Rally to unseat MP takes to streets

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HUNDREDS of people took to the streets of Haverfordwest on Saturday (Oct 14) as part of a campaign to unseat Preseli Pembrokeshire’s Conservative MP.

Organised by Labour campaign group Momentum, the rally – which was the first such event since the Suffragettes visited in 1908 – featured television personality and author Owen Jones along with politicians and activists.

The event, described as ‘an unprecedented day of action against local Tory MP Stephen Crabb’, followed a cross-party meeting of the People’s Assembly last month, at which senior members of Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, the Lib Dems and Momentum came to an agreement to cooperate in campaigning directly against the MP.

In June’s snap General Election, Mr Crabb’s majority was cut to 314 from almost 5,000 as the Conservative Party led by Theresa May lost their majority and formed a minority government supported by the DUP.

Subsequently, the Labour Party has remained on an election footing, and Saturday’s rally in Haverfordwest formed part of a wider Momentum-led campaign to unseat eight prominent Tory MPs.

Labour AM Eluned Morgan opened proceedings, stating that without a Labour Government in Westminster, the Welsh Assembly was ‘restricted’.

Ms Morgan criticised Mr Crabb for ‘taking his own constituent to court’ when he was DWP minister. “People here know the name of Stephen Crabb, but not in a good way,” she added, telling the crowd that ‘without Preseli Pembrokeshire, Jeremy Corbyn will not be Prime Minister’.

Branch Secretary of Carmarthenshire Unison Mark Evans said that the workforce across local authorities had been reduced by 20% over the past five years. “This is causing stress levels to rise – it is not unusual for our members to be working four or five jobs to make ends meet,”  he added, recommending that local authorities led by Labour and Plaid Cymru should refuse to implement cuts and instead take money from reserves.

Local activist and Head of the People’s Assembly Jim Scott thanked Mr Crabb ‘for getting everyone this active’, while leader of the Green Party in Wales Grenville Ham claimed he had entered politics after being ‘haunted’ by footage of Stephen Crabb dancing.

Other high-profile speakers included Paul Rutherford who successfully took the DWP to the Supreme Court over the bedroom tax, and representatives of Disabled People Against Cuts and Women Against State Pension Inequality, along with Ceredigion’s candidate in 2017 Dinah Mulholland.

However, the star speaker was Owen Jones, who told an audience of over 200 people that ‘if we have an inspiring message we can turn things around’.

“This Tory government, just a few months ago was drunk on its own triumphalism – now look at them, fighting amongst themselves like rats in a sack,” he added, to loud cheers.

Explaining that this was the first such rally in Haverfordwest since 1908, Mr Jones referenced the history of protest movements including the Chartists and the Suffragettes. “We stand on the shoulders of giants,” he said.

It is not clear whether, given that it could be anywhere up to four-and-a-half years until the next general election, what direct impact if any this Momentum-led campaign will have, but it clearly touched a nerve with numerous attenders. One told The Herald that it was ‘great to see people getting off their a***s and doing something’.

The rally was followed by a comedy event in the Merlins Theatre that evening, which featured performers including The Artist Taxi Driver.

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Man ‘lucky to be alive’ after lorry crash

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THE CHAIR of the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats says that he is lucky to be alive after a freak car accident in Burton last week.

Andrew Lye was driving towards the Cleddau Bridge when his car was hit by lorry’s stabiliser which had come loose and was protruding into the road.

The collision, which happened at 2.45pm on Friday (Dec 7), left Mr Lye’s car written off, and he was badly shaken.

Mr Lye was thankfully not injured.

The police are investigating the crash between his Kia Picanto and a DAF LF lorry.

Mr Lye, who is the former Council Leader in the West Wiltshire District Council, told The Herald: “I consider myself to be lucky to get out of the car in one piece.

“I didn’t see the stabiliser bar as the lorry came towards me and the first I knew of the collision was the sound of my car being torn apart and glass and plastic flying over me.

“I am glad that I wear glasses as this protected my eyes.”

The police have been contacted for a comment.

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Pembroke: School to be closed tomorrow due to ‘major leak’

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Closed: Due to a 'major leak' (pic. Martin Cavaney)

A ‘MAJOR LEAK’ has closed Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke this morning (Dec 13).

The electrical system has been affected by the leak and the classrooms are not usable.

The council have said that the school will remain closed on Friday (Dec 14) as well.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke is closing this morning (Thursday, 13th December) at 10.30 am because of a major leak in one of the buildings. This affected the electrical system and rendered classrooms unusable.

“All staff and pupils are safe and transport arrangements are in place.

“Please monitor Pembrokeshire County Council’s social media pages for information as to whether the school will be open tomorrow (Friday, 14th December). A decision will be taken later today.”

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Santa dog parade raises money for Greenacres

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FRIARS VAULTS in Haverfordwest hosted a Santa dog parade to raise money for Greenacres Animal Rescue on the weekend.

The event, which took place on Sunday (Dec 9), included a catwalk for dogs, hunt for treats and a raffle.

The total amount raised on the night was £110 with a further £45.50 collected through the donation box.

The winner of the best-dressed Dog was Deb and Steve Bunston with Pip, in second place was Danielle Boswell with Badger and in third place was Caitlin Davies with Denzal.

Greenacres Animal Rescue said on their Facebook page: “A huge thank you to all at Friars vaults Haverfordwest & Jamie Sid Williams for holding the fabulous fancy dress pooch party yesterday.

“A very welcome £158.50 was raised for Greenacres. Thank you all”

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