FORMER Secretary of State for Wales Nicholas Edwards, latterly Lord Crickhowell, has died at the age of 84.
Nicholas Edwards was born on February 25, 1934, was educated at Westminster School.
After completing his National Service in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, he read History at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1957.
After leaving University, he worked in finance in the City of London, becoming a director of both an insurance brokerage and the ‘bankers to army and empire’ National & Grindlays.
In 1970, he contested the old County Seat of Pembrokeshire.
The sitting MP, the former Bevanite left-winger Desmond Donnelly, had shifted across the political spectrum to adopt positions even farther to the right than the Conservative Party of the day. Donnelly had resigned the Labour whip in the Commons in 1968 before founding the Democratic Party, whose candidate he was in the 1970 election.
Ranged against Donnelly were both Nicholas Edwards – widely regarded as being foisted onto a constituency with which he had few – if any – links and Labour’s candidate, schoolteacher and Neyland resident Gordon Parry.
In the Conservative’s surprise victory in the General Election, the split in the Labour vote between Donnelly and Parry let the unfancied Edwards through the middle and he won the seat with a majority of just over 1,200.
Edwards was to face Parry as his main opponent in the elections of February and October 1974; on each occasion beating his opponent by fewer than 1,500 votes.
In the Conservative election victory of 1979, Nicholas Edwards was elected with a majority of over 7,700 votes and, in the 1983 landslide, won by just under 9,500 votes.
After the 1979 election, he was appointed to be Secretary of State for Wales, in which role he piloted through the Commons both the formation of S4C as Wales’ national Welsh language broadcaster and began outlining the case for the regeneration of Cardiff Bay, opposed – ironically – at the time by Rhodri Morgan.
He was a noticeable early opponent of the Poll Tax.
He stepped down from the Commons at the 1987 election and was appointed Baron Crickhowell of Pont Esgob in the Black Mountains and County of Powys.
He was, at that time still in his early fifties and, while resuming his business interests, Nicholas Edwards rapidly became active as a major booster for the Cardiff Bay Barrage Scheme and the construction of an Opera House in Cardiff Bay. The Opera House project dissolved in acrimony after the winning entry by the late Zaha Hadid was rejected as too costly to build. However, the regeneration of Cardiff Bay has brought a new centre of prosperity and public life to the Welsh capital.
In 1989, he was appointed Chair of the National Rivers Authority, a post he held until that body’s abolition in 1996 and replacement by the Environment Agency. He was subsequently President of Cardiff University and remained an active member of the House of Lords until last autumn.
Nicholas Edwards’ father had been employed at the Victoria and Albert Museum and later as an adviser to Historic England, it is therefore of no surprise that he was engaged widely within the arts, lobbying successfully for the Welsh National Opera to have a permanent base in Cardiff and became President of the Contemporary Arts Society for Wales.
He married Ankaret Healing in 1963. They had a son, Rupert, and two daughters, Sophie and Olivia.
Tributes have been paid to Lord Crickhowell by fellow Conservative politicians.
Stephen Crabb, former Welsh Secretary said: “I am deeply saddened that Nick has passed away. He was a good friend and offered encouragement to me when I was starting out in politics. Nick was a brilliant MP for Pembrokeshire and left a strong legacy including the building of Withybush Hospital. He will be missed by a great many people across our County.
“My sincerest condolences go to his family.”
Andrew RT Davies said: “Lord Crickhowell was an inspiration to a generation of Welsh Conservatives, and his passing is desperately sad news for his family and friends.
“As a constituency MP he represented Pembrokeshire with huge dedication, and he advanced the cause of Wales around the cabinet table during eight years in government.
“He was a politician of real vision and tenacity, and his most enduring legacy to Wales will be the transformation of Cardiff Bay – which to this day remains one of the most successful regeneration projects the country has seen.”
Local coronavirus restrictions imposed to control outbreaks in South Wales
Coronavirus laws are being tightened in four more Welsh authorities – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – following a sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced.
The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four local authority areas.
The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport:
People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.
From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:
“Following the decision to place additional coronavirus restrictions in place in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.
“In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health.
“It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of South Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.
“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”
The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.
The Welsh Government will call an urgent meeting of all local authority, health board and police forces from Bridgend to the English border tomorrow to discuss the wider situation in South Wales and whether further measures are needed across the region to protect people’s health.
The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.
Keep Wales safe by:
Always keeping your distance
Washing your hands regularly
Working from home wherever you can
Following any local restrictions
Following the rules about meeting people
Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.
Julie James AM attends the launch in Swansea of new research on benefits of Community Led Housing
JULIE JAMES AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, attended the launch at Down to Earth in Swansea of new research from the Wales Co-operative Centre, with support from the Nationwide Foundation, which found that residents who live in community led housing (CCLH) experience improved mental wellbeing and happiness, as well as improved skills development.
Over 50 residents from 22 community led housing schemes across Wales and England were interviewed. The top benefits that residents highlighted were:
Residents felt less isolated, being surrounded by a supportive network
• Improved mental wellbeing and happiness
• A better quality of life with the potential for skills development and increased levels of confidence, as well as a better financial situation
• Wider benefits to the community including a reduction in antisocial behaviour and greater community collaboration
• Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, said of the research: “We were really pleased with the research findings and the range of softer benefits that residents have seen. As well as the expected financial benefits, there is a much wider impact on mental wellbeing and skills development which is great to see.”
Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James AM, said: “I have been overwhelmed in hearing the benefits residents gain from living in community-led housing. The difference tenants feel in terms of improved skills, increased confidence and improved mental wellbeing to name but a few – demonstrates why community-led housing can, and should be part of the solution to the housing crisis we face here in Wales. Building more affordable housing and providing people with safe, warm and secure homes is a key priority for this Welsh Government. I’m looking forward to watching community-led housing grow and flourish – and contribute towards our commitment to building 20,000 affordable homes during this Assembly term.”
Lib Dems slam ‘botched’ scheme
THE WELSH Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for their “hapless treatment” of EU citizens after the Home Office released guidance on the new EU Settlement Scheme.
The Home Office has confirmed that for the duration of the trial period, until 30 March, EU citizens applying to stay in the UK must either use an Android phone or travel to one of 13 ‘document scanning’ centres instead.
For Holyhead, the closest ‘document scanning’ centre is Trafford.
According to an analysis by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, EU citizens travelling from Holyhead would face costs of £55 on the train for at least a six and a half hour round trip. The drive would be a 224-mile round trip costing around £56 in fuel.
The only document scanning centre in Wales is in Caerphilly. Travelling from Pembroke to Caerphilly and returning the same day by rail would cost £32.10 (the cheapest available fare at the time of enquiry), the cheapest off-peak fare from Aberystwyth would be £77.10 return. By car at an average of 40mpg, the cost of travel would be at least £27 to and from Pembroke, while from Aberystwyth the cost would be at least £25. Both car journeys represent round trips of over 180 miles.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “Too many people in Wales are deeply anxious about their right to stay. Many of them fill vital roles in the health service, our schools and the tourism sector. They want to register as soon as possible, but Theresa May’s hapless treatment of EU citizens could result in a new Windrush scandal.
“For anyone who doesn’t have an android phone, this botched scheme means they will have to travel. For people in Holyhead, that means facing a 224-mile round trip and paying over £50 for the privilege. This postcode lottery is simply unacceptable.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey MP said: “Following significant pressure, the Prime Minister said there will be no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. How long did that commitment last?
“It is Conservative Ministers who have made a mess of Brexit. They should either pay the cost for EU citizens or change the application system and ensure EU citizens are made to feel welcome in the UK.
“Ultimately, the best way to avoid all of this mess is by giving the people the option to remain in the EU with a final say on Brexit.”
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