Tele Column – 26th June 15

Westminster can be a confusing mixture of committees, portfolios, all party groups, remits, alliances and allegiances. Some of these are designed to find a consensus and occasionally they do. There are times, when whatever your politics, we can agree on a given issue. I was hoping that once we put all the pomp and circumstance to one side and we had debated in the chamber and chatted in the tea bars that the house would extend the voting franchise for the EU referendum to include 16 and 17 year olds along with EU nationals but sadly that was not to be. Leaving us with the anomaly that you can vote if you’re a Greek Cypriot but not if you are a Greek!

Hopefully one thing we can all agree on is that carrying out an extensive feasibility study into bringing the QE2 home to Inverclyde is a worthy exercise. There are a host of questions that need answered, ranging from the cost of purchase to the eventual use and could it be part of a maritime museum? But these can all be addressed and hopefully a range of solutions found.

Locally I had the privilege to attend a range of events including a carers event where I had my blood pressure checked and to my amazement it is fine. The school choirs in the Town Hall and the Riverside youth brass band in the Lyle Kirk were fantastic.

I had hoped that my local office would be up and running but the unit I had intended to utilise has been earmarked by the council as a retail outlet, so unless I start selling SNP merchandise I shall have to look elsewhere! I have been fortunate to recruit two very good members of staff and we are looking forward to working hard together and serving the community.

In time I shall recruit two more staff so we are better placed to take on the challenges in front of us. Finally, my maiden speech is scheduled for the 1st of July. I am looking forward to it and once it is completed I shall be in a position to play a more active role in the chamber.