Coastguard protesters seek reprieve for Swansea centre

Conservative AM Suzy Davies joins protesters
Image caption Conservative AM Suzy Davies with protesters at Westminster

As flotillas go, there was little that would have worried the Spanish armada.

A dozen or so campaigners against the proposed closure of the Swansea coastguard centre took to the waters in two hired rigid-inflatable boats to make their point at Westminster.

Among the protesters, onshore at least, two Welsh MPs (both Labour) and three Members of the National Assembly for Wales (one Plaid Cymru, two Conservatives).

Once upon a time loyalty was said to be the Tories' secret weapon but in these devolved days the party's elected representatives are happy to wave placards protesting at their own government.

They were joined by the solo yachtsman , who knows a thing or two about trouble at sea.

He believes the loss of Swansea undermines a previous promise to maintain one coastguard centre in the Bristol Channel.

Gower MP Martin Caton, whose constituency includes the Swansea centre, believes that if one Welsh coastguard centre had to close it should have been Milford Haven (as originally proposed).

He acknowledges it will be difficult to change ministers' minds before the consultation period ends next month but hopes a petition signed by 100,000 people will maintain the political pressure for a U-turn.