The headline could easily be misinterpreted given Labour’s labels and the outside possibility of Denzil making a political comeback given that Keith Davies has come out of retirement to stand for council. However, the former MP’s only role today, Saturday (Apr 8) was to open the new Labour office on Pottery Street in Llanelli. The local AM and MP, Lee Waters and Nia Griffith, were joined by former MP and successor to Jim Griffiths, Rt. Hon. Denzil Davies, in remembering Jim’s legacy, along with local councillors and party supporters.
Jim Griffiths was the MP for Llanelli from 1936 to 1970. Griffiths was born in Betws. He was the youngest of ten children his father was the local blacksmith. Educated at Betws Board School, he left at the age of 13 to work at Ammanford No. 1 colliery (Gwaith Isa’r Betws), where he eventually became Lodge Secretary.
Denzil Davies told the story of Jim’s life, from his political roots as a founder of the Independent Labour Party in Ammanford at the turn of the century, through to his presidency of the Miners’ Federation of South Wales, his election to parliament in 1936 and the key role he played alongside Aneurin Bevan as an architect of the welfare state.
Davies took the Llanelli seat in 1970 and held it until 2005. The former MP gave a brief speech ending with the message that MP’s should always look after their constituency. The new constituency office is named after Jim Griffiths (Ty Jim Griffiths) and it is decorated with photographs of Griffiths including one with his wife Winifred Rutley.
Lee Waters AM said:
“Too few people know who this towering figure in modern Welsh history, Jim Griffiths, is.”
“As Minister for National Insurance in the great reforming government of Clement Attlee after the Second World War, he is one of the key architects of the Welfare State.”
“He was critical in getting the Labour Party to support devolution, and as the first ever Secretary of State for Wales he played a crucial role in setting in motion the process which saw the creation of a National Assembly.”
Nia Griffith MP said:
“As well as bringing in the 1946 National Insurance Act, Jim also introduced family allowances (now child benefit) and the Industrial Injuries Act to help those who suffered accidents at work.”
“To honour his legacy, we must defend those rights and always look after the Constituency.”
The Labour faithful did not hang around long as they were off out canvassing for votes for the forthcoming local council elections.