- Oral question to Liz Truss on the 3rd October in which she failed to mention Bedford Jail where there was a riot over the weekend
- Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab) Will the right hon. Lady have a word with the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) in order to reduce her naïve optimism and to recall that no party in the last 45 years has reduced recidivism? On this Government’s watch, a recent report said the number of prisoners who first took drugs in, for example, Bedford jail had risen from 4% to 14%, meaning people were going in as shoplifters and coming out as heroin addicts. What is she going to do about that?
Elizabeth Truss I completely reject the hon. Gentleman’s counsel of despair. This is the first time we will ever be putting it in statute that reform is the purpose of prisons. At the moment the Secretary of State is merely responsible for housing prisoners, not making sure we improve outcomes. We have not had that systematic approach and I am determined we achieve it.
- Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab) There are two possible routes for the M4 relief road in south Wales. One, the blue route, would concentrate and increase pollution in the heavily populated heart of Newport, where air pollution accounts for 70 deaths a year. The other scheme would disperse pollution over a wider, less-inhabited area. Will the Minister assure me that she will give her wholehearted support to the black route in order to reduce pollution?
Dr Coffey I must be careful when dealing with such issues in Wales as they are the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government, but I am sure that officials will have heard what the hon. Gentleman had to say.
From every speaker and from every party in the Commons came praise for the Welsh Assembly.
Their trailblazing law on homelessness has been a success that the Commons will imitate. It is another unheralded success for the foresight of the Assembly.
Next we should repeat throughout the UK the Assembly’s pioneering reform on presumed consent for Organ transplants. A few years ago a 20 year old constituent lobbied me in London. He was waiting for a heart transplant. There were many false hopes raised. He had travelled up to Birmingham in the early hours of the morning for an operation only to be informed when he arrived that the heart had been allocated to another patient. Six months later I attended this young man’s funeral.
Following Wales’ example would be a bold move by the timid Commons. But Wales has proved that this new law will save precious lives. It cannot come soon enough.
- Well-deserved praise from a Government ministers for the Argus campaign to highlight the best in Newport life.
Let’s all concentrate on the great tourist assets on the city. The Transporter Bridge is a beautiful wonderful engineering curiosity. The Newport Wetlands are at the heart of Wales’ only fenlands. The amphitheatre, Roman baths and museum are top magnets for tourists. The Celtic Manor resort is already a world-class venue that continues to grow and improve.
We live in a fine city that deserves our praise and appreciation.
- A new scourge in the US is killing more people that the total of all deaths from traffic accidents, guns and terrorists. The recent increased use of opioid drugs for depression is killing 28,000 a year from their addictive side-effects. The use of opioids is growing here and thousands of avoidable deaths could result.
I chair an All-Party Parliamentary group that held a seminar last week to draw attention to this new deadly threat. We must reject medicines that are potentially more deadly than the maladies they pretend to cure.
* Thoroughly enjoyed a sublime evening’s entertainment at Newport Cathedral last week. The neglected mass of Rossini was performed by the always inspiring Newport Philharmonic Choir and soloists. The work is packed with musical joy and surprises. Rossini wrote a letter to God suggesting that his mass entitled him to a sesame entrance into paradise. Well worth it.
*Best wishes to Kevin Ward in his new venture. He has served the Argus and Gwent well. Politically impartial he has kept the Argus the lively paper than we all enjoy.