Women's voices 'rarely heard' in Brexit debate

Jo Stevens MP
Image caption "I rarely heard women's voices, despite our best efforts to be heard" - Jo Stevens on the Brexit referendum

I know what you're thinking. But no, I'm not one of those BBC staffers on £150,000-plus a year.

But before you drown me with your unwarranted sympathy, let's talk about the last Westminster debate about Wales before heavily-fatigued MPs depart for their long summer recess.

Cardiff Central Labour MP Jo Stevens led a debate on the Queen's Speech and its implications for Wales. The speech, setting out the government's legislative plans for the next two years, was dominated by Brexit, not just the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill aka Repeal Bill but by seven other proposed new laws linked to leaving the European Union.

'Dog's dinner'

As you might expect from a Labour MP, Ms Stevens didn't find much in the speech to commend it: "After the dog's dinner of the Wales Act 2017 in the last Parliament, there has been no progress on tidying up and providing much-needed clarity on the devolution settlement, nothing to offer on rail electrification or anything concrete on scrapping the Severn bridge tolls and no Swansea bay tidal lagoon announcement, despite the government sitting on the favourable Hendry report since January."

What caught my eye were her comments on last year's EU referendum campaign - "the worst I have ever been involved in" and not just because of some of the nastiness about immigration and the murder of Jo Cox.

Read full article Women's voices 'rarely heard' in Brexit debate

The Repeal Bill, a 'power grab' and a maiden speech

Ben Lake MP
Image caption "We can also justifiably claim to be the capital of Welsh culture" - Ceredigion MP Ben Lake delivers his maiden speech in the House of Commons

There's no disguising the frustration in UK government circles over the reaction from Cardiff to its "great repeal Bill" - formally known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Carwyn Jones dropped in on EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier today before issuing a joint statement with Nicola Sturgeon condemning the "naked power grab" of the legislation. That statement prompted UKIP to accuse Mr Jones of "crossing the road to pick a fight".

Read full article The Repeal Bill, a 'power grab' and a maiden speech

New MP claims credit for ice cream - and cafe culture

Tonia Antoniazzi
Image caption 'Yes, you have ice cream to thank me for' - Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi delivers her maiden House of Commons speech

Three weeks after the general election, and a week after the state opening of Parliament, new MPs have been busy making their maiden speeches in the House of Commons.

By convention these are relatively uncontroversial and involve saying something nice about your predecessor despite political differences with them.

Read full article New MP claims credit for ice cream - and cafe culture

MPs ponder meaning of £1bn DUP deal for Wales

The proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. Image copyright TLP
Image caption Could the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon be a beneficiary of the Conservative-DUP deal?

For Labour, it's a straight bung. For Plaid Cymru, it's a bribe.

The deal between Theresa May and the Democratic Unionists has prompted predictable howls of outrage over the commitment to spend £1bn over two years in Northern Ireland, some of which will be spent on health and education.

Read full article MPs ponder meaning of £1bn DUP deal for Wales

Spaceplanes, Brexit and cutting Wales Office ministers

The Queen
Image caption The Queen - without her crown - reads her speech at the state opening of Parliament from the throne in the House of Lords.

It's not quite the same without all the pomp and ceremony.

But then politics isn't quite the same any more. And this Queen's Speech - the first from a minority government since 1978 and the first "dressed-down" ceremony since 1974 - is rather different from the norm.

Read full article Spaceplanes, Brexit and cutting Wales Office ministers

The election, Brexit - and Larry the Downing Street cat

Larry the Downing Street cat
Image caption Larry the Downing Street cat checks out the watching media the morning after the election.

A visitor from another planet listening to the prime minister's speech outside No 10 on Friday could be forgiven for assuming nothing of significance happened the day before.

There was no change of tone, no acknowledgement of any fresh message the voters had sent Mrs May, bar a passing reference to opportunity and fairness that echoed her speech on the same spot 11 months ago. It seems odd to me she didn't spend more of the election campaign talking about helping those who are "just managing" as she called them in her first (well-received) Downing Street speech.

Read full article The election, Brexit - and Larry the Downing Street cat

A Brexit election? Polls, debates and known unknowns

Ballot box graphic

It has been an election campaign like no other, with more than the usual twists and turns amid the slogans in the weeks before polling day. The volatility of the opinion polls has reflected the ups and downs of an extraordinary campaign.

I've spent most of the campaign covering the "air war" from Westminster. The two main candidates for prime minister have each confounded expectations. Theresa May started the campaign looking invincible but later struggled to communicate her message and ended up re-writing her manifesto within days of its publication. Jeremy Corbyn began the campaign as a leader whose own MPs doubted his ability to do the job and ended looking as if he was really enjoying it.

Read full article A Brexit election? Polls, debates and known unknowns

Confused by the general election? You are not alone

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDavid Cornock talks to voters about why the election campaign has been so confusing

This is my eighth general election as a reporter.

And by far the most confusing.

Read full article Confused by the general election? You are not alone

Tories promise 'shared prosperity fund' after Brexit

Theresa May
Image caption Theresa May launches the Conservatives' UK manifesto in Halifax.

To the prime minister, it is "my manifesto" and Theresa May's programme for government certainly looks and feels rather different from the one David Cameron stood on two years ago (which featured Mrs May on the cover).

In comparison, it is long on her vision of "a great meritocracy" and short on specific policies that could become hostages to fortune in government.

Read full article Tories promise 'shared prosperity fund' after Brexit

Policy pledge fails to build bridges between parties

Severn toll booths

You wait years for a manifesto pledge on Severn Bridge tolls and then two come along at once.

No sooner had Labour's UK manifesto arrived, with a pledge to work with the Welsh Government to scrap the tolls, than the Conservatives made a similar pledge.

Read full article Policy pledge fails to build bridges between parties