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Former MP Denzil Davies dies

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Still active in retirement: The opening of Labour's new Llanelli office in 2017

FORMER Llanelli MP Denzil Davies has died.

Mr Davies died on Wednesday, October 10, the day after his 80th birthday.

Denzil Davies became Labour MP for Llanelli in 1970, when he succeeded Jim Griffiths.

He served as the town’s MP for 35 years, stepping down in 2005 when he was succeeded by Nia Griffith.

Like Ms Griffith, Denzil Davies served as both his Party’s shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Shadow Defence Secretary.

Born in Cynwyl Elfed, Denzil Davies academic success at Queen Elizabeth Boys’ Grammar School in Carmarthen led to a first class honours degree from Pembroke College, Oxford. He taught in universities in America and England and practised as a specialist in tax law at the Bar before taking up a ministerial role.

He was a Treasury Minister under Prime Minister James Callaghan in the late 1970s.

Following the fall of the Callaghan Government in 1979, he remained a member of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet.

Viewed as a moderate within the Labour Party of the early and mid-1980s, Denzil Davies was never afraid about refusing to kowtow to political fashion. A staunch opponent of Welsh Devolution, Mr Davies was also noted for his opposition to the UK’s membership of the European Union throughout his Parliamentary career.

In 1983, Denzil Davies finished third out of four candidates in the election to succeed Denis Healy as Labour’s Deputy Leader. In a system dominated by the trades unions’ block vote, he polled 3.5% as Roy Hattersley romped home with over two-thirds of the Electoral College.

Mr Davies quit Labour’s front bench in 1988 after then Opposition leader Neil Kinnock changed the Party’s defence policy without consulting with him beforehand. Years later the by-now former Labour leader expressed his regret about the circumstances which led to the Llanelli MP’s resignation.

After 1988, Denzil Davies never again served on Labour’s front bench. However, following John Smith’s sudden death in 1994, he tried unsuccessfully to gain a place on the ballot to succeed Mr Smith as Party leader.

Mr Davies’ presence on the backbenches was a thorn in New Labour’s side, as he continued to swim against the political tide favouring a closer relationship with the EU.

After stepping down as Llanelli’s MP, Denzil Davies remained active in local affairs and recently had campaigned for a statue commemorating the contribution of his predecessor as Llanelli’s MP, Jim Griffiths, to Welsh political life.

Llanelli AM, Lee Waters said: “Denzil was a brilliant man who made a big contribution. He served the Llanelli constituency from 1970 until 2005 and was a significant figure in UK politics. He was a Treasury Minister in the Callaghan Government and played a key role in setting up the WDA. Had Labour not been in opposition for the whole of the 80s he’d have been a major Cabinet Minister.

“On a personal level he was my MP as I grew up, and he was the first person I interviewed as a budding journalist for my school newspaper. He opened our constituency office last year and dedicated it in memory of Jim Griffiths, his predecessor. Despite being in his 80s he was in sparkling form; I last saw him just a few weeks ago at a dinner in Llanelli supporting young talent”

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Family tribute to Carole Patricia Fowler

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Carole was a teacher for 30 years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli. She loved children and they loved her. 

As one of her past colleagues said: “I know she made such a difference to every child she taught.” She was very popular with staff and well respected and loved by parents. She was dedicated and conscientious, always 100% for the children. She led the music there and was always popular with her guitar accompaniments for services and concerts. 

Likewise, she was a valued member of the choir at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Gendros, Swansea, where she would often accompany hymns with her guitar and gave guitar lessons to the children in the church’s Saturday Music Club. She was also a keen member of Côr Persain, Ammanford. 

She was talented, loved and in demand. A convicted and devout Catholic all her life, through good and bad.

Carole was an avid and very gifted crocheter and was always crocheting or knitting something for someone. She had been spending her time recently, during the Covid crisis, crocheting NHS teddies in scrubs and rainbows, with many given to practising nurses. Carole had recently started learning to make bobbin lace. She was also capable of some very decent sewing, too. 

She was also learning Welsh, doing ‘pilates’ and was considering taking up yoga lessons as well.

She was a busy lady! As one of her work colleagues said of her: “She was wise, strong, beautiful, generous, devout and feisty. And I loved her for all those qualities.”

Above all, she was an immeasurably loved Mam, daughter, sister and a doting Mamgu and so much loved by her fiancé. Having been together for 14 years, they would have been married last July 20th had covid allowed! 

Her premature passing at 61 is tragic and she is already sorely, painfully missed. She leaves behind a huge chasm in so many hearts that cannot be filled.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, may perpetual light shine about her, may she rest in peace.”

If anyone witnessed the collision or may have been travelling on the M4 at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting police reference DPP-20210113-317

Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Tip off leads to pensioner’s drug stash

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A BRIEFCASE full of drugs has been recovered during a raid in Swansea suburb.
Police acting on information provided by a member of the public executed a warrant in Gorseinon and recovered a large quantity of cannabis.
A man was arrested on suspicion of possession of the class B drug, with intent to supply.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “At around 5.40pm on Wednesday, January 6, following an intelligence led operation, a 68 year-old man from Gorseinon was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.
“He was taken to Swansea central police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation”.

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