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This week was big for the Welsh parliamentarians.
It began with Paul Flynn, the longstanding member for Newport West, announcing that he would be standing down as a member of parliament after 31 years. Often seen as a maverick – he has previously called for anti-drug law campaigners to come to parliament and break the law – the MP took the decision to stand down because of his deteriorating health. Despite now being confined to bed by his rheumatoid arthritis, the veteran MP has vowed to do what he can to fight Brexit, saying ‘I will go to the Commons in a stretcher if I have to’ to vote on any Brexit deal.
Later the same day Peter Hain, a Labour peer who spent 24 years as the MP for Neath, named Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop, as the person behind a now infamous £500,000 non-disclosure agreement over workplace bullying and harassment. News of the NDA first came to light on Tuesday when the Telegraph published a story following a long-term investigation, but were unable to name the person behind it due to an injunction against them. Hain was able to name Philip Green under the protection of parliamentary privilege, which grants him protection against liability while speaking in the chamber.
The intervention from Hain has undoubtedly been an important step forward for the #MeToo campaign. NDAs are a tool that give the richest in our society a level of immunity from prosecution from their actions that others do not enjoy. They allow billionaires to buy their way out of experiencing the repercussions of their actions, which creates a disparity in our legal system.
After Hain’s statement, Jess Phillips hit the nail on the head: ‘I think that today we have proven that wealth and power and arrogance will not always provide you with cover.’
-Joe Cox, digital assistant
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