It was a great pleasure to welcome Lord David Frost to the Three Salmons Hotel in Usk on Friday evening for Monmouth Conservative Association’s spring dinner.

A leading Brexiteer with a distinguished career as a diplomat before taking charge of the Brexit negotiations, Lord Frost caused a little controversy recently by questioning the current extent of the powers of the Senedd.

I don’t fully support the view that the Labour-run Welsh Government should be stripped of its powers. But I certainly think ministers in Cardiff Bay need to take greater care to remember the extent of those powers. For example, asylum policy is not devolved and it would be hugely irresponsible to give young asylum seekers a salary of nearly £20,000 a year and extra money for legal fees to fight government decisions.

If the Welsh Government spent more time putting the powers in its competence to good use, perhaps we would have lower NHS waiting times, improved educational standards and a transport policy to replace the nonsensical approach we are witnessing now with proposals to charge motorists for using the M4 near Newport, scrapping all major road building projects in Wales and deciding not to extend Covid-era funding for Wales’ bus network.

Congratulations to Dr Miles Allison, consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Gwent Hospital, and Brian Stephenson, consultant colorectal surgeon, for a combined service of over 60 years to patients in Gwent.

They are both retiring later this year and on Friday afternoon I attended a celebration of their careers, which formed part of a day of educational talks. Brian specialises in the treatment of groin hernias and has been involved with the charity ‘Hernia International’ since its inception in 2005.

His use of a pioneering hernia operation has simplified treatment and recovery for patients in Gwent, while the ‘plug and patch’ technique he learned in the USA has seen him pass on his expertise to surgeons in Africa. Brian’s last surgical venture will be in Senegal. I wish him and Miles all the very best for the future and thank them for their dedicated years of medical service.

Raglan Castle was packed on Sunday morning as Monmouthshire District Scouts gathered for a St George’s Day parade and service. It was the first post-pandemic opportunity young people had to meet as a district and there was a real sense of joy. As an ex-scout in the 1980s, I have fond memories of bringing friends together for events like this. Well done to the young scouts who sang loud and proud when the PA system failed during Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau! A wonderful moment.