Peter on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

Interviewed by Justin Webb, 

LK:                  Well here is the question I suppose, do you think anything needs to change, you claim you don’t think he should be deposed but do you think he, his team need to do things differently, is that at least true?

 

PH:                 You and I Justin, you in the media and I as a politicians occupy the Westminster bubble, it is a world completely remote from what is happening out there in places like Neath where I’m speaking to you from, we just heard a tragic, terrible story on your programme we have got a world in which zero hour contracts, a rough world of work, people getting mortgages to pay off their kid’s student debts, London flats being bought up by the block and kept empty by oligarchs, that is the world out there, stuttering growth, austerity, a hard time in which the British economy is sinking and is failing to compete abroad and then there is this Westminster bubble nonsense about plots from unnamed people and those that are named flatly deny it. The media led by the Daily Mail, what a surprise ‘A bonfire plot against Ed’ screaming on the headlines of the Daily Mail, the Daily Mail has always been virulently anti-Labour

 

JW:                 DO you think it is made up?

 

PH:                 I don’t know whether it is made up or not all I know is reputable journalists including on the BBC don’t mention names because there are no names and if there are people feeding this stuff they should stop because what the country is desperate for is change. They want to get rid of this incompetent government that may not even be able to keep the lights on over Christmas, they know that Ed Miliband, despite all the attacks on him in the media has a plan for the country. He was the one who showed the courage to take on Rupert Murdoch, who identified the way the electricity industry was ripping consumers off and remember when he called for an electricity price freeze the industry screamed, the Tories said it was a Marxist plot and then one after the other the industries said they would start to do it. He has been consistently leading this country in pointing out that we need to change the direction of the country, bringing out policies for new housing, for tackling the problem of zero hour contracts and so on

 

JW:                 Isn’t that the point though, you make the case there that the country is in trouble, the individuals are in trouble, that there is anger, that there is disillusion, isn’t the point that those inside the party who might be muttering about him, isn’t the point that they would make, that he should be in a position where he captures that disillusion and uses it politically, offers solutions that people genuinely think might work for them and that doesn’t seem to be happening?

 

PH:                 I think that is happening but we are living in a very different political climate. I’m just looking at the facts in the latest opinion poll which show the Conservatives on 27%, just 3 points ahead of Ukip on 24% and Labour with a clear-ish lead, now we need to do better in the polls, of course,  but we are in a new political climate in which there is no trust at all in the political class of which I’m a member and all the party leaders inhabit, no party leader has got good ratings at present time and what we need to do as a Labour Party is unite and pull ourselves together and get behind Ed as I believe the party in the country is and campaign and I think he will be the Prime Minister next year and I’m not saying this out of bravado, or tribal loyalty I think we will be the biggest party and I think Ed Miliband is on course to win but he needs the support of every Labour MP and I don’t think the mutterers if they exist and no doubt journalists are not inventing this though they can’t name the people, I find that very significant. If the mutterers continue to mutter then all they will do is stop places like Neath from being liberated from this destructive, uncaring, unfair government that is destroying people’s lives.

 

JW:                 You sound pretty angry this morning?

 

PH:                 I am angry because in the real world out here it is a world in which – I had last week an individual come to me, a constituent come to me with liver cancer, he is going to die unless he gets a liver transplant, he has been stripped of all his benefits he told me, he has not got any support from the welfare net that is supposed to support people in his dire situation. I can repeat other examples of what is actually happening on the ground and I don’t think those people or Labour Party members will forgive some self-indulgent Member of Parliament muttering to a journalist and producing a headline in the Daily Mail when actually those newspapers have always been Labour’s enemies and we have a plan, Ed Miliband actually has been the first to identify that this country needs to be changed and changed radically if it is to serve the interests of everyone and not just the tiny elite at the top which is what Cameron and his old Etonian cronies are doing.

 

 

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PM Accused over Northern Ireland

David Cameron is not engaging “closely or energetically enough” with the political parties in Ulster, a former Northern Ireland secretary claimed today.

Labour’s Peter Hain, who held the post from 2005 to 2007, said the situation needed “constant care and attention” from Downing Street.

He asked current Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers during questions in the Commons: ” Do you agree the current political paralysis in Northern Ireland is undermining already shaky local faith in their elected politicians?

“I do not believe that the Prime Minister has been engaging closely or energetically enough with the parties to ensure that the 2007 settlement remains in good faith.

“I make no party point on this. From experience, I know that Northern Ireland needs constant care and attention from No 10 and I hope it will now get that.”

Ms Villiers said she could assure him that Northern Ireland did get constant care and attention from Mr Cameron.

She said: “Not just with his decision to bring the G8 to Northern Ireland, but every day in focusing on the security situation and on repairing the Northern Ireland economy and, of course, closely following these talks.

“I agree it is vital we don’t let disputes about parades, painful though they are, get in the way of the need to reach resolution on important issues like the budget, like flags and like a reform of parading decisions in the future.”

Published in the Belfast Telegraph on October 29th 2014,

You can read it here 

The time has come to transform British Government

Peter Hain MP has joined Ed Miliband’s calls for scrapping the House of Lords in favour of a democratically elected Senate.

Speaking from his Neath constituency, the former Secretary of State for Wales said: “the Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a democratic deficit which has been allowed to evolve unchecked for centuries.”

“Wales has just 24 peers in the Lords, compared to 266 from London and the South East of England. London alone has more peers than East Midlands, West Midlands, Wales, Northern Ireland, the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber added together. We cannot allow this to continue.”

Since the Scottish Referendum on the 18th of September, Labour has been the only party to call for a full-scale constitutional convention in the United Kingdom to redress the imbalances of its historical system of government.

“I believe this is a once in a century opportunity to make our system of government fit for everyone, the fact is that people are fed up with an out-of-touch political class and the growing sense that Westminster is failing us all.”

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Hain Fights To Keep Cross Community Centre Open

Local MP Peter Hain has vowed to fight to keep the Cross Community Centre in Pontardawe open as consultation is underway over its future and residents look to voice their concerns in a public meeting on Monday 3rd November.

Speaking before the meeting Mr Hain said, ‘In 1995 I was involved in the fight to retain the Cross Community Centre and I will fight to retain it again. I am well acquainted with the Cross having held many meetings there, it is one of my regular venues for my monthly surgeries for the last 24 years and I know full well the vital role it plays in the community.

‘Neath Port Talbot are in a difficult position because of the savage cuts emanating from Westminster and travelling down the M4. With £50million already taken from their budget, a further £19million to come next year and even more cuts in the following years it is prudent that they look at all their services to find a way forward.’

Neath Port Talbot CBC are currently consulting over their twelve community centres to assess the potential future operation of each centre with the consultation ending on 3rd December.

The public meeting will be taking place on Monday 3rd November, 6:30pm at the Cross Community Centre, Pontardawe

Fourth Food-bank Opens in Neath

Peter Hain MP has attacked the government for failing to address poverty in South Wales as he pledged his support for the fourth food bank to open in the Neath constituency in Glynneath.
“I am fully behind the community members in Glynneath who are examples of the stunning charity I know is typical of Neath residents. Nevertheless, it is a scandal that we are having to resort to food-banks in Neath,” he added.
“In 2010 I and my Labour colleagues on the County Borough Council warned everyone how austerity would affect our towns and villages, now we are seeing the devastation wrought.”
“People in Neath earn on average £50 less per week than throughout Great Britain, over £2500 less annually, without financial support from the government in the form of tax credits the lowest earners in the constituency are at constant risk of abject poverty.”
The food bank in Glynneath is the third to open in eighteen months in the constituency and is community based project similar to those in Neath, Ystalyfera and Pontardawe.
“It is yet another example of the increasing emphasis of communities having to self-fund activities because the State is refusing to support them,” said Mr Hain.
The former Welsh Secretary went on to say: “It is outrageous that people are having to choose between putting food on the table for their families and paying essential bills just because the Westminster Government has turned its back on hardship, withdrawing vital support whilst giving tax cuts to the rich.”

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Hain Slams ‘Thatcher Conspiracy To Hammer Miners’

Justice for the Coalfields

Margaret Thatcher’s Government was guilty of a conspiracy to ‘hammer’ striking miners in the yearlong 1984-85 strike claimed Neath MP Peter Hain.

‘Cabinet papers recently made public under the 30 year rule prove that Thatcher used the full might of the state to attack the miners and their families,’ Mr Hain said after a debate in the House of Commons today.

‘Her strategy was to criminalise the miners using every trick in the book.  Miners driving to support fellow strikers had their car keys taken from them.

‘A coach hired by miners in Neath did not turn up after police told the coach company miners could not hire it.

‘Road blocks in Nottinghamshire alone led to 160,000 miners’ pickets stopped in first seven months of strike in clear breach of the law.’

He continued: ‘The miners and their families – especially the women support groups – worked heroically but they could not win against such a brutal government. It’s legacy haunts us today: proud and strong coalfield communities destroyed, robbed of jobs with no investment to create new ones.’

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Read Peter’s interventions in the debate here

Hain Celebrates 50 Years of Wales Office

Untitled

Neath MP and former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain joined with other past Secretaries of State to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wales Office.

Mr Hain, one of only three former Secretaries of State to hold the position more than once, recalled of his time in the Wales Office, ‘I am very proud of my achievements in Gwydyr House from the securing of free bus travel for pensioners, to developing a new policy bringing together post 16 schooling, further education and training under one umbrella and taking through the far reaching 2006 Government of Wales Act which put full legislating powers on the statute book.’

Visteon Pensioners

Visteon Pensioners

Peter with Visteon pensioners in Parliament celebrating their long but victorious campaign to persuade Ford to honour their obligations instead of reneging on these and robbing the pensioners of their rights.

Hain Slams Minister for Attack on Disabled Workers

Peter Hain MP has slammed Welfare Minister Lord Freud for his derogatory comments about disabled employees.

It was revealed today that Lord Freud had suggested some disabled people were not “worth” the minimum wage in a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference.

A former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mr Hain said: “His comments, his attitude, the total disregard for the hardships of disabled people, it was despicable.”

“The suggestion that having disability somehow impacted on whether or not an employee deserved the National Minimum Wage really was reprehensible. “

“It should not matter who you are, a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay is all any of us want. The Tories have shown once again the utter contempt they hold for so many workers across the UK.”

Lord Freud made a grovelling apology this afternoon, however calls are growing for him to be sacked.

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Tributes Paid To ‘Man Of The Community’

Neath MP Peter Hain has led the tributes to former Cadoxton County Borough Councillor, Valdo Funning who passed away on Wednesday.

Mr Funning had been unwell for some time but speaking after hearing the sad news Mr Hain said, ‘Valdo was a man of the community, a greatly respected and long serving Community Councillor on Blaenhonddan, Neath Borough Councillor and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Councillor.

‘He was a stalwart of the Labour Party, who will be fondly remembered for his dedication to the community, his extensive knowledge and of course his wit. He will be sorely missed.’