Welsh Questions: blue-on-blue clash over EU referendum

David Davies Image copyright David Davies
Image caption Up for the fight: Monmouth Tory MP David Davies challenged Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns over the EU referendum.

The last Welsh question time in the House of Commons before the EU referendum saw some of the blue-on-blue action the prime minister has been so keen to avoid.

Monmouth MP and "leave" campaigner David Davies raised the issue with Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns: "You will surely have seen the report from Cardiff University yesterday showing that Britain pays nearly £10 billion net to be part of the European Union. If we took that money, under the Barnett formula do you agree that that money could leave Wales half a billion pounds a year better off if we vote "leave" on June 23?"

Mr Cairns told him: "You are failing to recognise the impact of all of the independent forecasters, be they the IMF, the OECD, the governor of the Bank of England that talks about the negative impact 'Brexit' would have on the Welsh economy £2 billion reduction in the scale of the economy, costing 24,000 jobs. That's a step we cannot afford to take."

Mr Cairns's predecessor-but-one David Jones asked if Wales Office special advisers had met the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign and, if so, what did they discuss.

The answer was along the lines of "a range of issues" that affected the Welsh economy including "Brexit". Mr Cairns repeated his figures from the Treasury analysis published on Monday. (You can read the official guidance for civil servants and special advisers here.)

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New MP on the butchers of Ogmore - and Kylie Minogue

Image caption Ogmore MP Chris Elmore makes his maiden speech in the House of Commons.

Wales's newest MP has made his House of Commons debut. Labour MP Chris Elmore, who won the Ogmore by-election on May 5, delivered his maiden speech during a debate on the Queen's Speech.

As is traditional, Mr Elmore used his maiden speech to say nice things about his predecessors and his constituency. Unusually, his immediate predecessor, Huw Irranca-Davies, still represents the same constituents - in the National Assembly for Wales.

Read full article New MP on the butchers of Ogmore - and Kylie Minogue

MP recalls 'delusional, masochistic' Welsh campaign

Dr Phillip Lee Image copyright Phillip Lee
Image caption Phillip Lee as the Conservative candidate in Blaenau Gwent

I first met the Conservative MP Phillip Lee outside a cafe in Tredegar more than 10 years ago. He had a few of his party activists waving Conservative placards as the then Home Secretary David Blunkett arrived to support the Labour campaign.

He was a bit more visible than the usual Conservative candidate in those parts - and, unusually, didn't try to pretend that he got a great response on the doorsteps.

Read full article MP recalls 'delusional, masochistic' Welsh campaign

Queen offers peers progress report on draft Wales Bill

Leader of the Lords Lady Stowell
Image caption Leader of the Lords Lady Stowell reads the Queen's speech as Parliament prorogues

In other news, Parliament has prorogued. Prorogation is the ceremony that marks the end of a parliamentary session and features a smattering of Norman French.

The session that begins with the Queen's Speech, ends with another speech "in Her Majesty's own words", as the Leader of the Lords Lady Stowell told peers and MPs assembled for the occasion.

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'Surreal' first day at the office for Wales' newest MP

(L-R) Tom Watson, Chris Elmore, Gill Furniss and Jeremy Corbyn
Image caption New Labour MPs Chris Elmore (second left) and Gill Furniss are welcomed to Westminster by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson.

Wales' newest MP has arrived at Westminster to take his seat in the House of Commons.

Chris Elmore was elected at a by-election in Ogmore last Thursday and replaced Huw Irranca-Davies, who was elected to the Welsh Assembly on the same day.

Read full article 'Surreal' first day at the office for Wales' newest MP

Cairns offers 'real parliament for Wales'

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns
Image caption 'A real parliament for Wales' - Alun Cairns's offer to the Welsh government

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns was among the first formally to congratulate First Minister Carwyn Jones on Labour's success in Wales.

In a statement, Mr Cairns said he believed the new Welsh Government should have "five clear priorities" in co-operating with Westminster.

Read full article Cairns offers 'real parliament for Wales'

Minister gets his excuses in early ahead of 26-mile run

MPs Alistair Burt, Alun Cairns and Graham Evans
Image caption Full stretch: MPs Alistair Burt (left), Alun Cairns and Graham Evans limbering up for Sunday's run

We are so fond of the word 'historic' in Welsh politics that it is increasingly used to describe something vaguely interesting that hasn't happened before.

So when I suggest that new Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns will make history on Sunday, I'm not comparing his task to walking on the moon or finding a cure for the common cold.

Read full article Minister gets his excuses in early ahead of 26-mile run

Steel jobs, ministerial debuts, tolls and royal regalia

Alun Cairns and Guto Bebb
Image caption The new Wales Office team of Alun Cairns (left) and Guto Bebb answered MPs' questions for the first time.

So what did we learn from Alun Cairns's Commons debut as secretary of state for Wales?

As expected, the half-hour question time was dominated by the crisis in the steel industry. And as expected, Mr Cairns defended the UK government's handling of that crisis.

Read full article Steel jobs, ministerial debuts, tolls and royal regalia

Cameron challenged by Welsh student over steel industry

Peter Gillibrand
Image caption 'I'm the president of the Welsh society and I'm sure you're aware where this is going....' - Peter Gillibrand to David Cameron

It has been a constant refrain since Tata Steel announced plans to sell off its UK operations: if the banks can be bailed out, why can't the steel industry?

It's a question Peter Gillibrand put directly to the prime minister today. Peter is president of the Welsh society at Exeter University, which David Cameron was visiting on Thursday.

Read full article Cameron challenged by Welsh student over steel industry

PM 'not ruling anything out' (except nationalisation)

Port Talbot steelworks
Image caption 'The situation at Port Talbot is of deep concern' - David Cameron on the steel industry.

David Cameron has chaired a short meeting of ministers to discuss the steel industry. Among those present in Downing Street were the Business Minister Anna Soubry (whose boss has yet to arrive back from Australia), Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns.

The prime minister gave a short interview afterwards. This is what he said: "The situation at Port Talbot is of deep concern. I know how important those jobs are; those jobs are vital to workers' families, vital to those communities, and the government will do everything it can, working with the company to try and secure the future of steel-making in Port Talbot and across the country. It's a vital industry.

Read full article PM 'not ruling anything out' (except nationalisation)