Caerphilly MP Wayne David: “Thatcher’s legacy will not be forgotten in South Wales”
Margaret Thatcher left a legacy in South Wales that would not be forgotten or celebrated, according to Caerphilly MP Wayne David.
Mr David spoke in the House of Commons on Wednesday during a specially convened session for members to hear tributes to the late Baroness Thatcher.
The former Tory Prime Minister died on Monday aged 87 following a stroke.
Mr David said: “I believe we should all show respect to Mrs Thatcher, this country’s first woman Prime Minister. As Prime Minister of this country, she undoubtedly achieved things in which all of us, on both sides of the House, can share a pride.
“Most notably, she signed the Good Friday agreement, and under her leadership this country liberated the Falklands and encouraged the freedom of the peoples of eastern Europe. Let it be said, too, that she played a key role in the development of Britain’s role in Europe and the single market. The young Margaret Thatcher was a good European. We should acknowledge too, if not to celebrate it on the Labour Benches, that Mrs Thatcher won three consecutive general elections. There were and still are many people who admired her undoubted strength and resolve, which she had in large abundance.
“To show respect, of course, does not necessarily mean that we have to be in agreement. It is worth remembering that many people throughout the length and breadth of this country suffered because of Thatcher’s ideology and the policies she pursued. It is important for us all to recognise that—and no part of the United Kingdom suffered more than the valleys of South Wales.”
Mr David spoke of the 1984 miners’ strike and its impact on the Rhymney Valley.
He said: “If the hardship of the strike was bad, what happened afterwards was truly awful. Within months of the end of the strike, nearly all the remaining collieries in South Wales were closed. Nowhere was worse hit than the Rhymney valley, the greater part of which I now have the privilege to represent.
“Two of the biggest collieries in south Wales were within the Rhymney valley – Bedwas and Penallta. Each employed more than 600 men. Bedwas was closed literally weeks after the strike and Penallta followed suit a couple of years later.”
He concluded: “Many Conservative Members genuinely believe that Mrs Thatcher achieved many great things. They are entitled to that view. Undoubtedly Mrs Thatcher did some things that we can all take pride in; but for my constituents, and for many ordinary people throughout south Wales, Mrs Thatcher has left a legacy which they will not celebrate and which they will never forget.”
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