BORIS Johnson's comments about Margaret Thatcher and the closure of the UK's coal mines has caused anger in Blaenau Gwent.

The prime minister had claimed that Mrs Thatcher had given the UK an "early start" in the shift away from fossil fuels by closing pits.

The constitency is traditionally a coal-mining and steel-working region. In Six Bells there is a statue, constructed for the 50th anniversary of the Six Bells colliery disaster  tragedy with friends still affected by the event today.

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MP for Blaenau Gwent Nick Smith told the Argus that he was not surprised that the prime minister considered the comments acceptable.

"I come from a family of mineworkers," he said. "I saw the damage that his party’s policy did to our valleys. This is a government and a prime minister that continue to show an absolute disregard for mining communities.

"This conservative government has only just rejected the Select Committee recommendations on the Mineworkers Pension Scheme to give former colliers a fairer share of the pot, despite assurances made by the prime minister during the last election. They didn’t care then and they don’t care now.

"We need a government and leader that thinks about jobs and people instead of a joker who laughs at his own bad gags".

Mr Smith's Senedd counterpart Alun Davies said: "The mask has slipped. Basically, Johnson is a prime minister for London and the south east of England. He doesn’t give a damn about Wales and our communities.

"I remember the strike. I remember the pain and the grotesque impact of a government going to war against its own people. It was ugly then and indefensible today.


Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council member Cllr Stephen Thomas also condemned the prime minister's remarks. 

"He treats the colossal damage done by his heroine Thatcher as if it was all a Tory parlour game without a single thought for the ruin she caused to people’s livelihoods in our communities," he said.

"He should be made apologise immediately for yet another insensitive gaff, although given his past record, I wouldn’t hold out much hope of that happening."