By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

I was very excited by the confirmation this week that the Crown Crossroads upgrade, and the new Aldi in Llay, would be going ahead by the end of the year. Having had a public consultation with Llay residents earlier this year, I know that the Crown Crossroads has been a major issue for many in Llay and the surrounding area. That is why I campaigned hard for the Council to follow through with this promised upgrade and I am pleased that they have listened to residents’ concerns. Recently, I wrote to the Council again to reiterate the importance of the upgrade to our community, so I am ecstatic by the news of this success!

However, I am taking the opportunity to mention access to healthcare in Wrexham and the plight of many constituents. Once again, I have heard further stories of long waits at the Wrexham Maelor and of residents’ struggles to access their GPs. I was able to raise these concerns with the Managing Director of the Wrexham Maelor last week during a meeting and I have meetings coming up with the Chief Executive of the local health board this week, during which I will reiterate my concerns.

Last week, I also attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. I was particularly pleased to have been asked to contribute to two panel discussions on the main stage. The first was a discussion of veteran’s affairs in the United Kingdom and how we can further support veterans across the UK. As many will know, supporting the Armed Forces community is close to my heart, so it was an honour to share the stage with Leo Docherty MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans Affairs and others. During the event, I discussed the importance of making sure the Welsh Government follows the other three nations of the UK in appointing a Veterans Commissioner for Wales, my ground-breaking report into the experiences of women in the Armed Forces and what can be done to make this country an even better place to be a veteran.

On the second panel, I was joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke MP, and other guests for a discussion of the UK’s response to Covid-19, and how important the Union has been in the response. In my comments, I welcomed the UK Government’s excellent vaccine rollout, driven by the amazing efforts of the team at Wockhardt in Wrexham, and I discussed my own experience of returning to frontline nursing at the Wrexham Maelor during the pandemic. The event was an excellent showcase of what makes the United Kingdom so special, and it truly highlighted why we are all better together.

During the Conference, the Centre for Policy Studies also released their brilliant report, “Strength in Union: The Case for the United Kingdom”, to which I contributed an essay on the military and our United Kingdom. My essay focussed on how the defence sector and our military bridge the four nations of the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – by creating economic links through defence contracts and employment, by supporting communities across the UK through such as through the vaccine rollout, by providing effective security to everyone in the nation, or most recently by providing additional support to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The announcement last week over 100 defence personnel were being called in to support our Ambulance services in Wales was a further testament to the key role the Armed Forces have played during the pandemic, protecting individuals and communities across Wales. Indeed, it further illustrates the overriding message from my CPS article, which was that our Armed Forces and defence sector are an enduring symbol of our Union, of its strength and importance.

As always if you are resident in Wrexham and need my assistance with any local or national issue, please make contact with me by emailing