In his maiden speech yesterday he noted that there are areas of severe deprivation in his constituency where only 8.1% of pupils achieve 5 GCSEs – and that those pupils can expect to live for nearly 10 years less and to earn an average of £30,000 a year less than those in the more prosperous parts of the seats:
“After 13 years of a Labour Government, this is quite simply a disgrace and should act as a constant reminder to those on the Labour Benches, who have already begun looking back on their time in government as some sort of golden age in which poverty and inequality were abolished. Sadly, the truth is that, under Labour, the poor got poorer while the debt grew bigger. Labour Members will almost certainly be spending the next few years in hysterical opposition, attacking the Government for fixing the mess they created, completely oblivious to the reality that we cannot help the most vulnerable in society by basing the economy on debt. Without wealth creation, we cannot achieve the social justice that we all want.”
He also touched on his own long personal journey to Parliament:
“I was born on a council estate in Cheshire, as the youngest of four children. My father was a wages clerk, but he died when I was young, and my mother worked in a series of local shops and pubs to make ends meet. I left my local comprehensive school with few qualifications and got a job stacking shelves at the local supermarket, but I was fortunate to have the chance to study business at night school, and went on to have a successful manufacturing career working in sales. I should like to think that I was one of those slick salesmen whom the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Gordon Brown) liked to attack on such a regular basis in the last Parliament.
“I have always enjoyed serving my local community, spending four years as a special constable in the Cheshire police and 10 years as a local councillor. I have no idea how long I will serve in the House—that will be up to the people of Weaver Vale—but I hope that if I am to leave this place sooner rather than later, I will be able to help, in a small way, to put the “great” back into Great Britain.”
It should also be noted that the sole Conservative retread of the 2010 intake -Jonathan Evans, who regained Cardiff North for the Tories after a decade in the European Parliament – made his first speech to the House for 13 years in the early hours of this morning, after the late finish of the Second Reading of the Finance Bill.
He secured an adjournment debate to highlight an constituency-related issue: namely, how the methods of enforcement of the Reservoirs Act 1975 are being abused to undermine safety in the case of Llanishen reservoir in Cardiff, which he said “threatens to bring about the destruction of the reservoir itself”.