By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Last week, the Defence Secretary announced a significant increase in defence spending, raising it to 2.5% of GDP, equivalent to £75 billion. The UK Government is also committing an additional £500 million in military funding for Ukraine and the largest-ever delivery of vital equipment.

I was delighted to speak with the Defence Secretary about how this increased funding will be spent given the current increasing threats in Ukraine and NATO. As a member of the Defence Select Committee and a former Defence Minister, I have long advocated for increased defence spending and the Defence Secretary is delivering on this front.

In a world of increasing threats, the Conservatives will ensure this country always stands up for British interests, deters our enemies and defends our values. Wrexham, with its proud military heritage and a large veterans community, including myself, will undoubtedly welcome this increase in defence spending.

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a half marathon speed march alongside cadets, reserves, veterans, students from the military preparation college and fire service personnel to raise funds for Woody’s Lodge veterans charity. Well done to all the organisers and to those who took part – it was a day to remember!

Meanwhile, after over a year of opposing Welsh Labour’s 20mph blanket policy, highlighting its negative impact on drivers, pedestrians and businesses, the Welsh Government has finally admitted its failure. Last week, the Welsh Government’s new Cabinet Secretary for Transport announced that he is open to making changes to the 20mph blanket policy and is rowing back by asking councils in Wales to exempt roads from this blanket 20mph speed limit.

This latest update to the 20mph saga means that residents can contact Wrexham Council to suggest roads that should be exempt. From September, councils across Wales will have the authority to reinstate 30mph on certain roads. I am actively engaging with Wrexham Council to obtain and share their guidance on this matter.

Whilst I appreciate the new Transport Cabinet Secretary’s effort to appease Wrexham’s drivers, it is a dereliction of duty for the Welsh Government to pass responsibility for their disastrous policy to Wrexham Council. Let’s be clear, 20mph remains the default speed limit. Nothing has changed and it will be months before roads in Wrexham, if any, become exempt.

Rather than making Wrexham Council deal with the aftermath of Labour’s anti-car and anti-driver policy, the blanket policy should be scrapped. I will continue to call on the Welsh Government to listen to my constituents and residents across Wales more widely and commit to repealing the 20mph default speed limit.

Many residents are aware of the threat facing the Metastatic Cancer Nurse position at the Wrexham Maelor due to underfunding by the Welsh Labour Government, which is responsible for health in Wales and has been for the past 25 years. Upon hearing the news that this post may lose its funding; I launched a campaign calling for the permanent funding of this crucial role.

Last week, officials from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) provided me an update, agreeing the funding for the Metastatic Cancer Nurse in Wrexham will be extended to the end of March 2025. While I appreciate BCUHB’s recognition of the strength of feeling on this issue, this only offers short-term relief. The indispensability of this role warrants permanent funding, sparing it from recurring uncertainties.

As a former nurse myself, I know how vital the support provided by specialist Metastatic Cancer Nurses is to cancer patients and their families at the most difficult of times. The incredible nurse at Wrexham works with patients to coordinate their treatment and aftercare, provides emotional and psychological support for cancer patients and is a direct point of contact for any questions or concerns.

This underscores the ongoing importance of my petition - Wrexham residents cannot afford to lose this essential service. If you have not done so already, please sign and share my petition by clicking on ‘Save Wrexham’s Metastatic Cancer Nurse’ on my website homepage: Thank you to all who have already lent their support. Let’s send a strong message that we need a permanent Metastatic Nurse based at the Maelor.

If you are a resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my assistance with any local or national issues, please contact me on: