THE BREXIT PARTY has dominated in Wales, winning 32.5% of the vote, two of the nation’s four MEPs and coming top in 19 of 22 council areas.
Nigel Farage’s party won an unprecedented triumph for a six-week-old political party.
The Brexit Party has thumped the traditional two parties in Wales who both have suffered a huge collapse in their vote.
Nathan Gill (Pictured) looked triumphant at the count in Haverfordwest posing for the press with a Winston Churchill V for victory, and demanding that his party was not a flash in the pan, but here to stay until Brexit was delivered.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM, said: “These results are extremely disappointing for our hard-working candidates and the Party must now reflect long and hard on them.
“Here in Wales, Welsh Conservatives will continue their hard work in the National Assembly holding the Welsh Government to account and will welcome a healthy campaign in the run-up to the next Assembly elections in 2021.”
Labour’s Vaughan Gething AM said: “The results in Wales show that in Welsh Labour we have some questions to ask ourselves. Pro-referendum and remain parties gained more votes than leave parties.
“The room for a middle of the road approach has disappeared & attempting more of the same will not serve us or Wales well.”
Mark Drakeford congratulated Jackie Jones on retaining the party’s seat.
He warned that the election of a new Conservative leader would increase the chances of a “catastrophic no-deal exit from the EU”.
“Faced with the damage of a hard-line, Tory Brexit, Welsh Labour believes that the final decision must be made by the public in a referendum.
“And, for the avoidance of any doubt, a Welsh Labour government would campaign, in such a vote, for Wales to remain in the EU,” he said on social media.
Ex-Welsh Government minister Alun Davies blamed the huge drop Labour in Labour support on both Mr Drakeford and the party’s UK leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
“This is the reality we face. Poor leadership from London and no leadership from Wales,” he said
The result in Wales was a significant change on 2014 when Labour won 28.15% of the vote and Ukip 27.55%. Then, the Tories were third with 17.43% and Plaid Cymru came fourth with 15.26%.
Turnout across Wales this year was up on 2014 at 37.29%, compared to 32% five years ago.
Wales’s MEPs are now Nathan Lee Gill (The Brexit Party), James Wells (The Brexit Party), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales) and Jacqueline Jones (We;sh Labour).
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has praised the party’s success in the European elections, claiming they’re a clear example of the Welsh Liberal Democrat fightback.
Welsh Liberal Democrats won 13.6% of the vote, enough to secure 4thplace, but not enough to win a seat. The Liberal Democrats are on course to finish 2nd across the UK.
The Brexit Party were the largest party in Wales, their 32.5% of the vote was enough to win the 1st and 3rd seats, whilst Plaid Cymru won the 2ndseat with 19.6% of the vote and Labour the 4th seat with 15.3% of the vote.
Incredibly, the Conservatives finished 5th meaning Labour and the Conservatives won only 21.8% of the vote between them. The Green Party finished 6th.
Jane Dodds said told The Herald: “I’m proud of the entire Welsh Liberal Democrat team that allowed us to secure this successful result. We have secured our best ever European election result and our best result in Wales since 2010. To finish 4th and come close to electing Wales’ first ever Welsh Liberal Democrat MEP is a real achievement.
“We achieved this result because of our longstanding, unambiguous and passionate campaign to stop Brexit. Poll after poll has repeatedly shown that the Welsh people want to be given the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit. We stood up for them and we have been rewarded.
“It is deeply disappointing the Brexit Party have won two seats in Wales, particularly since their share of the vote was less than the combined vote share of us, Plaid Cymru and the Greens – the three pro-remain parties. We will continue to oppose the Brexit Party and all they stand for with all our might.
“Labour and the Conservatives must take a long, hard look at these disastrous results. They’re supposed to be the two leading parties. Yet in Wales and across the UK they’ve seen their share of the vote plummet. They have been punished for their incompetence and their attempts to deliver Brexit.
“This result shows the Welsh Liberal Democrat fightback is in full effect. Voters are listening to us again, supporting us again and believing in us again. These results show we’re on course to return a strong and effective Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Group in 2021.”
Political organisation Wales For Europe suggested that the results show a swing towards remain.
A spokesman told The Herald: “On the balance of votes across all parties, pro-Europeans have won.
“The Brexit parties have lost.
“The result is yet more evidence that over the past three years Wales has changed its mind on Brexit, as has the UK as a whole.
“It confirms polling evidence that if there were a referendum tomorrow, Wales would now vote Remain. The case for a new referendum remains strong.
“But there is no room for complacency, especially in a situation where the Tory leadership election is likely to increase sharply the risks to the country, not least to Wales.
“We still have a real fight on our hands against a nasty populism that seems to be endemic across the Western world.
Despite the passionate effort of many activists, the pro-EU side did not cover itself in glory in this campaign. In any new referendum – which must remain the key goal – victory will only be won by an effective, unified cross-party campaign.
“The result also sends a clear message to Labour’s UK leadership: it now has every reason urgently to adopt a more robust line and to proclaim it clearly and loudly. The leadership in Wales has even more reason to use its influence to ensure there is no delay.”
THE RESULTS –
Vote totals and share
Brexit Party – 271,404 – 32.5%
Plaid Cymru – 163,928 – 19.6%
Labour – 127,833 – 15.3%
Lib Dems – 113,885 – 13.6%
Conservatives – 54,587 – 6.5%
Green – 52,660 – 6.3%
UKIP – 27,566 – 3.3%
Change UK – 24,332 – 2.9%
• Brexit Party: 38.1%
• Plaid Cymru: 15.6%
• Lib Dems: 12.2%
• Labour: 11.2%
• Conservative: 10.0%
• Green: 7.0%
• Brexit Party: 32.8%
• Plaid: 31.1%
• Labour: 12.5%
• Lib Dems: 7.8%
• Green Party: 4.9%
• Conservative Party: 4.9%
• Ukip: 3.2%
• Change UK: 2.7%
• Plaid Cymru: 37.2%
• Brexit Party: 32.9%
• Lib Dems: 16.3%
• Green Party: 6.8%
• Labour: 5.1%
• Conservatives: 3.7%
• Ukip: 2.4%
• Change UK: 1.4%
Vaccine roll-out ‘within days’
THE FIRST COVID-19 vaccine has been given the go-ahead and the roll-out across Wales will start within a matter of days, the Chief Medical Officer announced on Tuesday, December 2.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now authorised the first vaccine as safe and effective on the basis of detailed independent expert review of evidence from large scale clinical trials.
The Pfizer Biontech vaccine has become the first to receive MHRA clearance in the UK and 40 million doses of the vaccine will shortly be available for delivery across the UK, with Wales getting its allocation based on population.
The effects of the vaccine may not be seen nationally for many months and the advice on keeping Wales safe remains the same for everyone; keep contacts with other people to a minimum, keep a 2 metre distance from others, wash hands regularly, wear a face covering where required and avoid touching surfaces others have touched, wherever possible.
Approval from the MHRA is the first step of Wales’ roll-out plan, which has seen preparations on-going since May. There are still a number of stages which need to happen before the vaccine reaches those in highest need and is ready for use, but this process is expected to happen over the next week.
These stages include:
· The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) finalising and publishing their guidance for the whole of the UK
· Finalising training materials for staff and patient information leaflets
· Training of experienced immunisers for this particular vaccine
· Final legal frameworks to allow registered health professionals to administer the vaccine to patients need to be authorised by each Health Board in Wales.
· The vaccine – which needs to be administered in 2 doses – will initially be prioritised and available for those aged 80 and over, care home staff and residents and those working within health and social care.
Pfizer Biontech vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures. These centres have already been decided by Health Boards and are in the process of being stood-up.
As further supplies become available and additional vaccines receive MHRA approval, a staged approach will see other groups be offered the vaccine, based on risk of serious complications and deaths.
Individuals in the priority groups for a COVID-19 vaccine will receive an invitation from their employer or health board providing information about the COVID-19 vaccines, telling them where to go and what to do on the day of their appointment.
People are urged to wait to be invited, which will happen through NHS systems. Please do not ask your pharmacist or GP.
There are plans in place for people who are housebound and for care homes to be vaccinated as soon as safely possible, with the approved vaccine being safely taken to them using a mobile service, once cleared for this purpose.
The development process for coronavirus vaccines has been as stringent as any other but the process in the face of the pandemic has been sped up by prompt, world-wide funding and a reduction in paperwork. The length of the trials have not been shortened, and the usual safety measures remain in place.
The vaccine will not be mandatory and people will be able to choose whether they take up the vaccine or not. Information will be provided to people before vaccination to reassure them about patient safety and robust consent processes will be in place.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, said: “It is fantastic to finally say that the first COVID-19 vaccine has been given the green light. We know now that we have a safe and effective vaccine for use across the UK – this is the positive news I and so many across the country have been waiting for.
“All our NHS organisations across Wales have embraced the challenge presented to them and are at the advanced stages of planning for the arrival of a vaccine. We have tested distribution and storage arrangements to ensure we can get vaccine safely to every part of Wales.
“There’s still a few stages we need to work through but once all these safeguards are in place, vaccination can begin. There will only be relatively small amounts of the vaccine at first, those who have been advised as most needing the vaccine first, through approved delivery mechanisms. A full announcement around the timetable for roll-out in Wales will follow in the next few days.”
The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said: “Today’s news is a small glimmer of light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel.
“We know some people within our communities are much more at risk than others from the serious complications of COVID-19, which is why the new vaccine is being prioritised to protect them first.
“Whilst these first doses are given at fixed sites and occupational settings, and to protect our NHS and social care services, we must all continue to do our bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus: regular hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a face covering where required to protect yourself and others.”
Andrew RT Davies MS – the Shadow Minister for Health said: “This is positive news in the battle against Covid but, as ever, the devil is in the detail of delivery.
“And so, today the Health Minister must today address a number of vital issues including:
· The ability of NHS Wales to start the vaccination process and when this will happen
· How many doses will be available to Wales in the first tranche and how they will be distributed
· Who the first recipients will be
· How, when other vaccines become available, NHS Wales will cope with the different procedures
“It will also require a strong public health campaign around take up of the vaccine.
“The people of Wales need this information to give them some confidence in how the programme will be handled here.”
Mr Davies’ remarks allude to one substantial issue regarding the vaccine’s distribution.
Both Wales and Scotland have a higher proportion of their respective populations in vulnerable groups. However, thus far, the UK Government has targeted Covid support on a per-head basis and not by need.
Vice-chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Programme Board, Richard Roberts from Public Health Wales, said: “It is a significant achievement that only 9 months after WHO announced the global pandemic that we now have the first safe and effective vaccine available for use in Wales, and other vaccines to follow.
“Everyone has been preparing for months to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine programme, and it is very exciting that we will be able to begin, once the final steps have been put in place so that the programme can be delivered safely.”
Pubs closed and fined for breaching Covid-19 rules
TWO licensed premises in Carmarthenshire have been handed £1,000 fines for staying open beyond the current 10.20pm closing time.
The operators of the Coopers Arms in Betws and Betws RFC were issued with the fixed penalty notices for breaching the current Covid-19 regulations.
Around 200 licensed venues have been visited by Carmarthenshire County Council officers in the last fortnight to check for compliance with regulations and to offer necessary advice.
As well as issuing two FPNs, the council has had to take action to close three premises where there were significant shortfalls in measures to ensure the safety of their customers.
They were the Biddulph Arms in New Street, Llanelli; the Greenfield Inn, Llanelli, and the Wheaten Sheaf in Abergwili.
They will now have to demonstrate a range of improvements before being allowed to re-open.
Several other premises have been served improvement notices, and will be re-visited, but the vast majority of businesses are operating well and have been commended for their efforts.
Council officers will continue making proactive visits to licensed and business premises, particularly offering support in light of new restrictions on the hospitality industry coming into force in Wales at 6pm on Friday, December 4.
The new regulations will mean pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot serve alcohol and will have to close to customers by 6pm, only being permitted to stay open later for takeaways of food or non-alcoholic drinks.
Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls, museums and galleries must also close from Friday.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for public protection and enforcement, said: “This is an exceptionally difficult time for our hospitality industry, in particular in light of the new regulations that come into force on Friday.
“Our officers have been working incredibly hard to support the industry and I want to thank the majority of businesses for making every effort to look after their customers and staff.
“That said, it has been disappointing to see a small number either recklessly or purposely ignoring the rules and by doing so, putting their customers at risk.
“We have made it very clear from the start that where we see premises falling significantly short of the standards, and where there are premises that are not operating within the rules, we will not hesitate to take action – make no mistake about it.
“As well as ensuring customers can meet and socialise safely, we must also ensure a level playing field for all businesses – most of which are trying hard to meet the regulations.”
There are serious concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in Carmarthenshire, with local hospitals and care homes now heavily impacted.
Welsh Government regulations make it clear that social gatherings should be minimised.
Hospitality venues, including licensed premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants, must ensure that customers can safely social distance at all times and strict cleansing routines must be in place.
People can meet in maximum groups of four, but if they are from different households every effort should be made to support social distancing.
Table service must be provided, with no customers allowed to congregate around the bar. Customers must remain seated, and wear a face covering at all times other than when they are seated.
Contact details of all customers must be checked and recorded as part of Test, Trace, Protect procedures.
Any business owner or landlord unsure of the rules is urged to check they know and understand the regulations – they are available online at www.gov.wales.
Further information, advice about steps to take and free downloadable resources are available on www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales where businesses can also sign up to receive regular business news updates.
Jail for man who live streamed himself speeding and dangerous driving
A MAN who live streamed himself on Facebook while speeding and driving dangerously has been jailed.
Justin Dean Jones, of Panteg in Llanelli, filmed himself driving at grossly excessive speeds and racing other cars on a number of occasions over the summer.
He then posted the videos to Facebook, which were sent to the Go Safe Road Harm and Casualty Reduction Enquiry Team by a concerned member of the public.
Dyfed-Powys Police PC Roger Jones investigated three videos filmed between July 2 and July 14, which clearly showing Jones using his mobile phone to film himself at the wheel.
The footage showed him speeding in a Vauxhall Astra and a BMW X5 in a 30mph zone on Glyncoed Road, Llandafen Road and Gelli Road in Llanelli, and reaching speeds of up to 120mph on the A484 Loughor link road, while overtaking other drivers.
In one video, the 30-year-old was seen overtaking other vehicles on pedestrian crossings in broad daylight, putting road users at a significant risk of harm.
Jones, who was holding the phone in one hand while driving, can be heard on the videos boasting about the performance of the vehicle.
As members of Road Safety Support (RSS), Go Safe sought the help of Steve Callaghan, the not-for-profit company’s forensic video analyst, to examine the footage.
Mr Callaghan conducted a thorough review of the evidence and was able to calculate the exact speeds that were driven in the incidents.
Jones was charged with three counts of dangerous driving, and was sentenced to 25 months in prison. He was also disqualified from driving for 62 months.
An anti-social behaviour destruction order has also been granted for the Astra and the BMW and is pending.
Sergeant Ian Price, of Go Safe, said: “The sentence of just over two years in prison and a five year ban from driving shows the high risk he poses to other road users.
“It is a clear message that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and ensures the removal of a dangerous driver from society and we hope that it gives him enough time to reflect on his actions in prison.
“We would like to thank Road Safety Support for helping us in this matter and ensuring this individual is no longer a danger to society over the next two years.”
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