Rhys Ab Elis, Plaid Cymru
3:00pm Friday 30th April 2010 in Torfaen
I am an actively retired civil servant, aged 63, who worked 34 years in the Inland Revenue, Regional Office of Industrial Tribunals, and Department of Transport and of Environment.
While with the Transport Department as a travelling internal auditor, my job required me to examine and investigate what the Department’s public expenditure was used for, and that every penny of public funds was correctly spent for intended purposes.
That training gave me practical and valuable experience in the proper use of public funds, and accountability for that use. Given the recent media disclosures of expenses and other financial arrangements of MPs within the last Parliament, I think that it is vital that we send to Westminster only those with ‘clean hands’, who can be trusted not to abuse the system. Only then can we start to rebuild the public’s confidence in their politicians, which is currently at rock bottom, for reasons we all understand.
During my working life I was involved with Trade Union activity for nearly all of it, and for the last few years before retirement I was the branch secretary in the National Union of Civil & Public Servants (now part of Public and Commercial Services Union).
As Branch Secretary, it was my job to take up personal cases on behalf of my members, with management, when natural justice and common sense were in short supply.
I would pledge myself to do exactly the same for the constituents of Torfaen, if elected. Improving the lives of constituents, particularly the most disadvantaged and vulnerable, goes to the heart of what the job of an MP should be about. Not pompous speeches and sound bites. Scrutiny and initiation of legislation to ensure it best serves the public interest and not vested interests, is the other side to what an MP is there for.
The job must be demonstrably seen to be about serving the electorate, first and foremost. And most definitely not about lining ones pockets! As a Plaid Cymru MP, I would seek to emulate the excellent examples already established by every Plaid Cymru MP sent to Westminster since 1966, of service to the communities and constituencies they have represented, untainted by sleaze and committed to serving Wales and her people.
Only then, armed with the highest ethical standards, can one aspire to promote the interests of Wales, and her rightful place among the nations of the world.