Local Welsh Labour MP for Ogmore, Chris Elmore, has taken to the despatch box for the first time as a Shadow Minister in Keir Starmer’s new front bench team. Following last month’s reshuffle, Chris was promoted to serve as Shadow Minister for Scotland, alongside his responsibilities as a Senior Opposition Whip.
Today (Wednesday, 20 May) Chris spoke from the front bench during Scottish Questions as the country enters week nine of lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19. He raised concerns on behalf of the universities sector in Scotland which is set to face a £500 million deficit in the next academic year following the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Universities Scotland currently anticipates that 18 of the 19 universities in Scotland will go on to report financial deficits. Given the stark implications this could have on the higher education sector, Chris asked Scotland Office Ministers to outline what action they were taking with the Scottish Government to put the institutions on a more sustainable footing.
Speaking after Scottish Questions, Chris Elmore MP said:
“I’m really pleased to have been asked to take on this important role at such a crucial time for our country. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need to have a strong opposition in Parliament so that we can work constructively with the government when they are getting things right, and provide effective scrutiny where their strategy is falling short.
“As a Welsh Labour MP, I am a keen supporter of devolution and it is vital that all four nations of our United Kingdom have their voices heard in the coridoors of power. In the weeks and months ahead, I will ensure this is the case, while also focussing on my main priority – speaking up on behalf of, and championing the best interests, of the communities across the Ogmore constituency.”
Chris will continue to raise issues and concerns on behalf of Ogmore constituents alongside his new role, while also working with Labour’s new Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland as part of this brief.
“There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic and the past 10 years of austerity from the Conservative UK Government has exposed the inequality we see across our country. I’m looking forward to exploring how we can address this imbalance so that our union works better for all parts of our union, including Wales, in the future.”