Tele Column – 4th Sept 15

As recess draws to a close I shall return to Westminster on Monday. The last six weeks working full time in the constituency have been a joy. I have endeavoured to visit and listen to as many companies and organisations as I could, as well as having one to one conversations with constituents.

Everywhere I have gone the enthusiasm and aspiration has been palpable. The energy and commitment has been inspiring and the desire to make Inverclyde better has been motivational. My thanks to everybody that has hosted me over this period.

Locally, this week, two contrasting stories have stood out. The UK government has promised to spend 500 million pounds to build the foundations for a 100 billion pound expenditure on weapons of mass destruction and secure less than 600 jobs. A move designed to shut down any debate regarding expansion, which has still to pass through the UK parliament. Meanwhile Ferguson Marine became the preferred bidder for a £97 million pound contract on which the foundations to expand their marine engineering business may be built. The expansion could see them employ up to 1,300 people. That begs the question, would we not be better spending 500 million on ten hybrid ferries with low emissions and either use them within the UK or sell them abroad for profit. It would be just like having a ship building industry employing thousands of people.  Imagine that.

So on Monday we take the fight back to Westminster, scrutinising and questioning every motion, every amendment, every twist and turn as the Conservative government push through policies that Scotland didn’t vote for and Labour cannot or will not resist. We must ensure that the much talked about “northern powerhouse” does not end south of the border and that the contribution Scotland makes is reflected fairly in the investments and opportunities we receive.