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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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Rescuers attend to injured construction workers in New Dock Street

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A MULTI AGENCY rescue operation is underway in Llanelli involving all three emergency services after an incident at a construction site.

Workers have been at the New Dock Street site, working for around three years, The Herald understands.

The Herald has been told that a piece of plant malfunctioned causing the emergency, which happened earlier this evening (Mar 19).

Four fire engines and three ambulances are at the scene, our reporter said.

A specialist line rescue team is involved in the recovery operation.

An eye-witness told the press that three workers have been affected.

The source said: “Concrete had just been mixed and had been poured into a skip which was then lifted using a machine. The concrete was being lowered into the hole, it’s probably about 20ft and then the machine toppled over.”

He added: “Two men climbed out of the hole on their own and as a precaution the third man was told to stay down there. The workers were told to leave the site as a precaution.”

At least one person has been seen being taken away in an ambulance.

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Llanelli: Met Bar incident investigated

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AN INCIDENT which resulted in a 51-year old man having to go hospital is being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The man has been discharged from Glangwili Hospital but police are looking in to how the incident happened and how the man fell down some steps.

The incident happened outside the Met Bar in Llanelli on Saturday night (Mar 16).

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald: “At approximately 10.55pm on Saturday March 16, officers responded to reports of an injured man outside The Met Bar, Station Road, Llanelli, after he’d fallen down some steps at the location.

“Ambulance was at scene, and the 51 year old man was conveyed to Glangwili Hospital with what was thought to have been a serious head injury. He was then later discharged from hospital, and the head injury was no longer believed to be serious.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting DPP/3011/16/03/2019/02/C. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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Reports damning for City Deal management

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THE PUBLICATION of two reports on Friday, March 15, has shone a light into corners of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The first report released, prepared on behalf of the UK and Welsh governments, written by Actica Consulting, suggests a combination of concerns over funding and of the “much-publicised concerns on the wellness village (Delta Lakes, Llanelli, the single largest project) could cause a loss of confidence within the region”

In the meantime and, The Herald understands, over the anguished objections of the Regional

Office/Carmarthenshire County Council, the second report – an internal review – was circulated to county councillors in Pembrokeshire this morning.

The second report makes for grim reading.

The report lays bare the amount of distrust between the City Deal partners, particularly between Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils on the one side, and Carmarthenshire County Council on the other.

Each report highlights deficiencies in the management of the Deal, which Carmarthenshire County Council and its controversial CEO Mark James are meant to lead.

Familiar to those who have kept a close watch on the activities of Carmarthenshire County Council are complaints of a lack of transparency and openness in the way the City Deal has been managed to date.

Particular criticism is made of two key aspects of the project: that under Mr James’ leadership the Deal has failed to consider the City Deal as a truly regional opportunity and focussed on building individual, local projects of limited regional value; the second major criticism is the failure of leadership given to the project and an abject lack of clear financial processes and accountability.

In spite of an attempt to spin the ‘success’ of two elements of the deal, Swansea Waterfront and Yr Egin, it is worth noting that Yr Egin was only tacked on to the City Deal when already underway because UWTSD revealed it couldn’t afford to complete the project on its own as it had promised.

Cllr Rob James, the Leader of the Labour Group on Carmarthenshire County Council told The Herald late on Friday afternoon: “I am pleased that this review has highlighted many of the concerns that we have raised on governance.

“Frankly, the report validated our actions to date.

“Trust has broken down between partners and public confidence in one of the projects, in particular, has taken a big hit.

“There are clear lessons that need to be learnt and this report highlights several of them. I now hope that the administration in Carmarthenshire consider the review in full and ensure that radical changes on governance are delivered immediately.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee, said: “This review was carried out alongside the UK and Welsh Government’s independent review of the City Deal programme and sought to assure that it will deliver full economic benefits for the region.

“The findings and recommendations of the internal review will be formally considered by the SBCD Joint Committee at the next meeting.

“Looking to ensure governance is as robust as possible reflects that we’re still in the very early stages of a 15-year programme, but we’re ready to support any recommendations that would benefit the region’s economic prosperity in future by speeding up the City Deal’s delivery.”

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