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St David’s Day

Volume 541: debated on Wednesday 29 February 2012

Tonight my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is holding a reception for St David’s day. Tomorrow the Welsh flag will be flying over No. 10, and I will be attending the Back-Bench St David’s day debate and welcoming Welsh children from the Dreams and Wishes charity to the House of Commons and Gwydyr house. Tomorrow I will also be attending a St David’s day dinner in London and a church service in the Crypt, at St Mary Undercroft. I presented the Prime Minister with daffodils from the national botanic garden of Wales yesterday, and Gwydyr house is full of daffodils.

This St David’s day will be tinged with some sadness, as Wales plays a memorial match in my constituency tonight in memory of Gary Speed, the Wales manager who died so tragically at the age of 42. Money will be raised for a charity called CALM—the Campaign Against Living Miserably—to help to prevent suicide among young men. Will the Secretary of State hold a collection in support of that charity at her St David’s day event?

I hope that the memorial match in the memory of Gary Speed goes extremely well and that a lot of money is raised for the charity. In answer to the hon. Gentleman’s question, I will come back to him and let him know, because I would like to ask the people who work in the Wales Office. We are having a charity called Dreams and Wishes come in on St David’s day tomorrow. That is what we are focusing on, but I will see what I can do for the hon. Gentleman. [Interruption.]

Order. We could do with a bit of quiet, both out of respect for St David’s day and in order to hear the Chairman of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs.

I wonder whether the Minister would consider marking St David’s day by allowing patients to opt out of the NHS in Wales and instead enjoy the lower waiting lists, lower infection rates and better funding that are the hallmark of the NHS in Conservative-run England.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding us, on the eve of St David’s day, of the differences that are arising because of Labour Government policies in Wales. I am sure that his question will be heard by many people across Wales. I hope that the Welsh Labour Government will emulate our reforms and produce a first-class health service in Wales for all our citizens.