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.

Cardiff North Labour MP MP Anna McMorrin found some warm words about the Conservative whose job she took. "I know how hard Craig worked to represent the constituency over the past two years," she told MPs on Monday.

Gower Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi didn't mention Byron Davies by name but said on Thursday: "I would also like to pay tribute to my predecessor who served the constituency to the best of his ability."

Ms McMorrin went on to give her analysis of the Brexit referendum vote - her city voted to remain in the EU.

"The vote in many parts of Wales was not a vote against Europe or the concept or the reality of the European Union," she said. "It was a vote against politics—against the reality of the decisions taken here.

"The cumulative impact of benefit cuts and reductions in public spending has hit the poorest hardest, so I intend to use my time here to speak up against a failed austerity where the richest people have forced the poorest people to pay the price." She added her name to an amendment to the Queen's Speech calling for the UK to remain inside the single market and the customs union."

'Ice cream'

Ms Antoniazzi used her speech to oppose fracking and urge ministers to sign off the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon.

She also reflected on her own heritage. "My Italian family name is embedded in the Gower constituency," she said. "The introduction of cafe culture to the people of South Wales comes predominantly from the families of Bardi - and yes, you have ice cream to thank me for."

Business Secretary Greg Clark told her he had sampled some of that ice cream while campaigning for her predecessor.

A friend had found that "Gower" and "Tonia" were searched for more than 20 times on her daughter's tablet computer.

"When questioned she told her mother, isn't it amazing that we live somewhere that anyone can become an MP you don't have to be rich, you don't have to go to a posh school you just have to work hard.

"And with more than 20 years as a teacher Amelie's words ring so true for the schoolchildren of Gower, Wales and the United Kingdom because ambition is critical," she added.

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