Saturday, April 27, 2019


HS2 has been branded an “affront to the Welsh taxpayer” by Plaid Cymru’s Transport Spokesperson Jonathan Edwards MP, after new analysis showed costs spiralling to over £150 bn.

Analysis by the Midlands Economic Forum (MEF) shows that the original construction cost of £30 bn could reach as much as £106.35 bn. This excludes further costs such as local infrastructure connection terminal (£43 bn) and rolling stock (£2.5 bn).

Mr Edwards said that Welsh taxpayers would be paying for an English railway, without receiving any benefit. The Westminster Government has already refused to give Wales any Barnett Consequentials – the normal mechanism by which a population share increase in funding for Wales is received relative to spending in England – for the project.

Transport expert Professor Stuart Cole has also demonstrated how HS2 will have negative consequences for Wales, particularly in the south of the country, as journey times to cities in the midlands and north of England are reduced and new technology encourages companies to areas with HS2 stations. Professor Cole’s analysis was supported by a report from Greengauge 21, which drew on analysis by KPMG, that found that HS2 could reduce employment growth in Wales by 21,000 jobs between 2007 and 2040.

The MEF report also claims the power requirement costs of HS2 would be approximately one third of the output of Hinckley C, and would cost £5 bn.

The overall cost of HS2, as calculated by MEF, would be £156.95 bn, which equates to 7.4% of UK GDP in 2018.  

Commenting, Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“HS2 has always been bad news for Wales – independent analysis shows it will mean an economic hit for our country. These latest figures, however, shows how much of an affront to the Welsh taxpayer HS2 really is.

“When costs are spiralling over £150bn for a railway between English cities, the Westminster Government remains committed. But when it comes to Wales, the British state can’t find the money to electrify a few miles of track between our two biggest cities.

“Welsh infrastructure is creaking. You can’t even get from the north to the south without going into a different country.

“Not only is this state of affairs symbolic of Westminster’s disdain for Wales, it is hurting our economy. Wales is stuck with a 20th century transport system, whilst helping fund the development of a multi-billion pound new transport system in England.

“We simply cannot trust another country to dictate our transport policy for any longer.”



Friday, April 26, 2019


Well there we are then, the Newport West By-election is over (our cities fourth by-election since 1922 **) and the voters (those who turned out to vote that is) have spoken. It was an interesting by-election campaign, somewhat overshadowed by Brexit, especially in the last week. It was my first election since the passing of my much missed late father, who would, like the late Steffan Lewis, have relished a Westminster By-election in Newport. 

There should be another massive thank you to my wife, my agent, my campaign team and the electors of Newport West / Mynwy for their support. And a massive thanks to the dozens of volunteers who came to help from all over Cymru / Wales - who remained in good cheer despite the hail, sleet / snow and the risk of sunburn - sometimes all within the same morning or afternoon. 

A positive endorsement...
Any election, but, particularly a By-election campaign should give every candidate the opportunity to listen to, to talk to and to meet with many Constituents during the course of a prolonged walking tour of (in my opinion) one of Cymru / Wales's more interesting constituencies. It was very clear early, on during what was essentially a short but intense campaign ,from the doorstep that not every candidate exercised that opportunity to actually listen and talk to prospective voters.

Elections are not simply about the voters and the candidates, a whole host of people work very hard behind the scenes to make things work smoothly, including the Retuning Officers, their staff, the council staff who run the polling booths (for some hours on polling day done if then were literally in the dark and the cold) and the staff who count the votes and the other council staff and the Police who work tirelessly to make the count function flawlessly.   

In Newport West constituency former candidates and the successfully elected  candidate life can now begin the odd process of returning to some form of normality. For the next few weeks after returning to normal sleep patterns and a normal intake of coffee may be something of a priority, that and resisting the strange desire to knock on the doors of perfect strangers and push leaflets through complete strangers letter boxes.

Sadly there were only two hustings (mostly but not entirely attended by political hangers on), something that may reflect on the price our society in Newport has paid for an over dominance by an often unresponsive Labour Party, perceived by some voters (correctly) as being more interested in Labour Party interests than the interests of our city and our country. 

Now that the sound and the fury have faded, and the hustings/ door knocking and. conversations blended into one former candidates can take stock. This is no glory in this, merely hard work, any dreams of political immortality / longevity should regularly doused with hard cold realism. 

A couple of election campaigns ago having been featured on the front page of a local newspaper in relation to the campaign to Keep Abergavenny Livestock Market I had the surreal experience of going to buy some chips in a local chip shop with a friend only to find myself literally being wrapped around chips (Sic transit gloria mundi - or "Thus passes the glory of the world”.

** Newport By-elections - 1922, 1945 (March), 1956 and 2019.