As we are still in lockdown my monthly report continues to be rather different in content. So many are learning how to use technology to keep in touch and it is no different in Parliament – April saw the introduction of a hybrid Parliament allowing us to continue to question the Government whilst ensuring social distancing is maintained.

We continue to be grateful for the work being carried out by our key workers in Newport East out on the front line. From NHS staff and care workers, our emergency services, Newport and Monmouthshire council staff, retail workers, delivery drivers, teachers, postal workers, food producers and many, many more in so many essential occupations and to all those volunteering and helping others.

John Griffiths and I, and our teams, have been trying to help people with advice and signposting and will be there for you throughout this time.

A new era – the hybrid Parliament begins

Thanks to the House of Commons teams who organised the first ever hybrid Welsh Questions & PMQs. It was good to take part, although unfortunately we didn’t get to my questions on the order paper.

In Welsh Questions I wanted to raise concerns from constituents – including those who are pregnant or in shielding groups – who instead of being furloughed are being asked to take holidays, Statutory Sick Pay or even let go. The Government must give clearer advice to employers on furlough and do all it can to keep people in their jobs at this time.
I also wanted to follow up on Naz Shah MP‘s PMQs question on long-term funding for councils which are doing an amazing job providing vital services & helping businesses. This must be addressed on a UK-wide basis as costs will be far more than UK Government have announced so far.

Questions to the Justice Secretary

I joined other Gwent MPs in writing a letter to the Ministry of Justice to ask for assurances that prosecutions for serious crimes would still take place during the ongoing pandemic in the letter, which you can read here. We raised concerns that there could be a five month wait for court appearances.  In Justice Questions I pressed the Government to tackle the worrying backlog in the criminal justice system during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can read my question and the response here.

Here are few of the other issues I have been involved in over the last month

You can click on the links to find out more about the issues below

Keir Starmer elected 
Since my last report the Labour Party has appointed a new leader.  I was delighted to see the election of Keir Starmer and also Angela Rayner as Deputy Leader. 
I have been reappointed by Keir as Senior Whip in the Opposition Whips Office and as Chair of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

Fellow Gwent MP Nick Thomas-Symonds has been appointed as Shadow Home Secretary, I know he will be fantastic in this role.

Keir came to Newport during his leadership campaign and I hope when we are in different times that he will be able to visit us again.

Every week I attend numerous ‘zoom’ meetings and have telephone conferences with organisations raising the issues you raise with me.
The organisations include
  • Government Ministers and Shadow Ministers
  • Aneurin Bevan Health Board
  • Gwent Police
  • Newport City Council
So if you have any questions you want me to ask please email and I will do what I can to get you an answer.
Many of the policy areas in the crisis including health and education are devolved to the Welsh Government. You can tune in every day to watch the Welsh Government Press Conference  following this link. You can email John Griffiths  or ring on 01633 222302

Volunteering opportunities 

Many constituents in Newport East have contacted me to ask about how they can help others who are more vulnerable than themselves during these challenging times, and I’m very grateful that volunteer networks are being set up to help the community effort in Newport and Monmouthshire.

Newport City Council are currently working with GAVO on a volunteer support network, which you can find out more about at

Monmouthshire County Council are also working on a volunteer action programme – you can find out more by emailing or visiting

There are other volunteering opportunities available with British Red Cross, who are looking for community reserve volunteers – you can find out more at

Advice for extremely vulnerable people
We have had a number of constituents contact me asking me about what type of health conditions come under the “extremely vulnerable” category in relation to the Coronavirus. The responsibility for this area comes under the Welsh Government.  John Griffiths MS has produced a useful guide which I have placed on my website here.  If you have any queries or concerns on this John and his team are happy to help.  Email .You can also follow John on facebook here 
Stay at home
Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family.
You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Although the office in Clarence Place I share with John Griffiths MS is physically shut as my team and I are working remotely in line with Government advice, we can still be contacted by emailing or by ringing 07385 290361.
You can also visit my website and follow my updates on Twitter and Facebook .
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