Back in 2017, I started raising concerns about the way in which ideology was trumping common sense when it came to issues around people identifying as transgender. I suggested it was wrong to allow biological males with male bodies to register themselves as female and have full right of access to areas where women expect privacy – including women’s hospital wards, women’s changing rooms and women’s prisons.

I also spoke out about the worrying trend of powerful puberty blocking drugs being given to young transgender children in schools. At the time, I was pilloried by a number of organisations and politicians, as well as an Abergavenny-based GP who was responsible for prescribing these drugs. In England at least, however, common sense appears to be making an appearance with the publication of the Cass Review.

This independent report clearly states children who identify as transgender should be treated with sympathy and care but not given a medical pathway that will irreversibly alter the course of their lives. I very much hope women’s groups are listened to with a bit more respect following the Cass Review and call on the Labour Welsh Government to take note of the recommendations.


I have been involved in discussions with HSBC, NatWest, Barclays and Lloyds Bank for several months about the provision of banking services across Monmouthshire.

I am aware banking hubs have been set up in other rural parts of Wales, including Welshpool in Montgomeryshire, which offer shared access to major high street banks. I was keen to explore whether something similar could be done in Monmouthshire and asked LINK, the UK’s cash access and cash machine network, to undertake a formal review of the constituency.

Thus far, a banking hub has been rejected on the basis that Monmouthshire does not meet the assessment criteria because Abergavenny, Chepstow and Monmouth currently have an existing bank open. I have also been told the Post Office is adequate to provide access to cash facilities for the area. I will continue to talk to the banks and on Friday, I visited the new Barclays Local service in Abergavenny.

Located at the Gateway Centre in Monk Street, Barclays Local offers face-to-face financial support and education for customers after the branch closed last month. I heard how it is a more sustainable and flexible way of providing support - such as help with online banking, balance checks, transfers and bill payments - for customers who need to speak to staff or aren’t yet ready or able to make the transition to digital. Barclays Local is open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-4:45pm.