Letter David Lowry: The resignation of seven MPs from the Labour Party on Monday squeezed out wider news coverage of the death of Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn. I worked with and for Paul at Westminster for nearly 35 years. He had a huge range of causes, often championing minority issues where others feared to tread, such as legalising cannabis and supporting the troops returning from wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and the families of the fallen in these wars, which he opposed. But the issue on which I worked most with Paul was nuclear power and weapons dangers, costs and secrecy. According to the Parliamentary Archives database, Paul asked 1,410 parliamentary questions on nuclear issues during his time as an MP. Indeed, his very first three questions as an MP (in July 1987) were posed on nuclear safety. He opposed the Hinkley C plant in Somerset, opposite his constituency across the Bristol Channel, to the end, and insisted the plans for new nuclear plants in Wales at Wylfa and a small modular reactor at Trawsfynydd were expensive white elephants, while backing “clean, green, eternal” tidal power in the Bristol Channel. Paul, who was nearly killed in a car crash when travelling to attend the foundation meeting of the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance in 1980, drove me from London to mid Wales to the funeral in September 2010 of Hugh Richards, then the leading campaigner for WANA, showing how much he cherished this campaign. For me, the most important single political intervention on nuclear was just over 10 years ago in a debate he initiated in Westminster Hall, the debating chamber that runs in parallel with the main House of Commons. In this debate Paul attacked the duplicitous way the Gordon Brown-led Labour government tried to hoodwink Parliament and sneak through a deal in the 2008 summer parliamentary recess that would have given a privatised management contract for Sellafield to a US-led consortium, Nuclear Management Partners, who would have secured a very large management fee from the taxpayer, but under which all the liabilities would have been socialised with the taxpayer.
Western Mail 21st Feb 2019 read more »