Welsh Parliament election: Senedd members get to work

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSarah Murphy was the only woman to succeed a man in a constituency seat at this Senedd election

Starting a new job is never easy - but how does it feel with the eyes of the country watching you?

There are the 19 new members of the Senedd in Wales following Thursday's Welsh Parliament election.

Seven Plaid Cymru, eight Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and three Labour politicians will be joining the Senedd for the first time.

We speak to three of the newbies about their first priorities in the role.

Sarah Murphy, the new Labour MS for Bridgend, replaces former first minister Carwyn Jones, who decided not to stand for re-election.

Ms Murphy is the only woman to win a constituency seat previously held by a man at this election.

"I talked to hundreds of people across Bridgend and Porthcawl in the last few weeks and, I have to say, people did not vote for us because they are grateful," she told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

"They voted because they respected the evidence-led decisions Mark Drakeford made."

Ms Murphy said the most pertinent question her constituents have is about international travel and Covid, and this will be an issue she intends to tackle in her early days of being an MS.

"Everyone's very curious about how this will play out now. That's something that I'm very keen on getting some indication on," she said.

"The last thing we would want now is to go into another big lockdown. Bridgend in particular got hit by that second lockdown at Christmas."

image captionSam Rowlands says his priority is the economy in north Wales

Meanwhile, north Wales has a new regional MS in Conservative Sam Rowlands, who says his major priority is the economy.

"Clearly, the region has taken a beating through Covid and we need to see investment come back to the area.

"A strong part of our economy is around tourism, and we are looking forward to welcoming people around these summer months so we can see our economy booming again."

'People can't plan at the moment'

Mr Rowlands said while his party does not have a majority, the gains it made "show people aren't as happy with Welsh Labour in government as perhaps they may think... there's a clear signal that people want to see change in Wales".

He believes people want a more detailed roadmap out of lockdown.

"People can't plan at the moment and that's really frustrating individuals but also businesses," he continued.

"People want to invest into this great country, and without any clear indication of what is going to happen when, then that investment isn't going to happen."

image copyrightPlaid Cymru
image captionLuke Fletcher, 25, is the youngest new face to the Senedd

Aged 25, Luke Fletcher is the youngest new face, having been elected as Plaid Cymru MS for the South Wales West region.

Originally from Pencoed in Bridgend county, he said he is especially looking forward to working with politicians Huw Irranca-Davies and Sarah Murphy in his stomping ground.

"I'm going to be keeping a particular eye on what the Welsh Government does here," he said.

"A priority for me now is to ensure that the skilled workforce that we have in the area, and indeed across the region, isn't wasted going forward."

Mr Rowlands added that the road out of lockdown needs to be "evidence-led".

"I think the last thing we want is to go into a lockdown, especially after all the progress we've seen," he said.

"I would like to see a roadmap with some dates on there of course subject to change, so businesses in Wales can start to plan ahead."

Also new to the Senedd are:

  • Natasha Asghar - Conservative, South Wales East
  • Rhys ab Owen - Plaid Cymru, South Wales Central
  • Cefin Campbell - Plaid Cymru, Mid and West Wales
  • Gareth Davies - Conservative, Vale of Clwyd
  • Jane Dodds - Liberal Democrats, Mid and West Wales
  • James Evans - Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire
  • Peter Fox - Conservative, Monmouth
  • Heledd Fychan - Plaid Cymru, South Wales Central
  • Mabon ap Gwynfor - Plaid Cymru, Dwyfor Meirionnydd
  • Tom Giffard - Conservative, South Wales West
  • Peredur Owen Gruffydd - Plaid Cymru, South Wales East
  • Joel James - Conservative, South Wales Central
  • Sam Kurtz - Conservative, Carmarthen and South Pembrokeshire
  • Carolyn Thomas - Labour, North Wales
  • Buffy Williams - Labour, Rhondda
  • Sioned Williams - Plaid Cymru, South West Wales

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