Responding to the private Labour Party email leaked by Plaid Cymru on social media and to the press, David Rees AM and Stephen Kinnock MP say:
“Whilst it's deeply disappointing that Plaid have chosen to use a leaked e-mail for their own ends, it is not surprising as this is typical of their methods. We stand by what we said in our e-mail to our members. In stark contrast to Plaid's scaremongering and grand-standing, our Aberavon Labour team quietly gets the job done.
“In conjunction with the local community we secured the right outcome on junction 41, and on the prison, and we shall always stand up for the interests of our constituents. Sometimes that means public campaigning, and sometimes that means careful and measured negotiations, to get the right results for our residents.
“Since the publication of the report on the M4 to Welsh Government, David Rees has raised this matter with them on several occasions in the Assembly and at a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Transport. On each occasion he has made it clear that this proposal should be rejected and the people of Port Talbot should not have to endure the chaos we all saw the last time the junction was closed. He has also organised a meeting with Welsh Government officials and all of the area’s regional AMs so as a joint position could be presented and all are able to present their views.
“These are the actions of a representative and a Labour Party which cares about their community and will do what they can to achieve a successful outcome: Presenting the case to Ministers, challenging officials and working with the community and other politicians. It’s the approach we’ve taken on the previous Junction 41 campaign and on the recent campaign to stop the prison coming to Baglan Moors.
“David Rees AM, Stephen Kinnock and the Aberavon Labour Party are dedicated to working for the people of Aberavon, with or without the support of other political parties.
“It is also important to understand the following facts:
- David Rees was first to suggest a public meeting and asked the chair of the original campaign group (Mike Hutin) to do so – thus ensuring it would be coming from a community group already established to fight the closure and not a political party.
- On being informed by Bethan Sayed that she had booked a room for a public meeting David Rees suggested a joint approach and a joint press release. This was not positively received and there has been no contact from Bethan Sayed or her office since to do this. It became clear that this was not wanted by Plaid.
- Notifications of the public meeting on social media have been produced with only Plaid Cymru’s badging. There has been no attempt by Plaid to move this forward as a joint campaign.”
The Leader of the Labour Group on Neath Port Talbot Council, Councillor Rob Jones added:
"The whole of the group of Labour Councillors upon hearing the news of the possibility of Junction 41 being closed again has strong opposition. It became very clear from the last time the Junction was closed and the chaos it caused around the town infrastructure that even several improvement schemes to mitigate the closure did not do anything to improve air quality.
"A lot of work goes on behind the scenes of these public campaigns to ensure a successful outcome is achieved for the benefit of our communities. The council itself will maintain a neutral position on this matter but the Labour Group are totally opposed to any closure of the junctions that run through our area for the reasons that have been stated by Welsh Government."