Westminster Diary 21 Jan

I have asked the paper to host this new space for me to lift the veil of confusion regarding what MPs do, particularly when we are in Westminster. With the advent of Parliament TV a lot of people think that is an MPs lot. Believe me there is a huge amount of work and research done before every visit I make to the chamber. It is like Muhamad Ali quote. “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Of course my gym is the library and my road is a corridor of meeting rooms.

I shall do my best to detail most of what I do but this is not an exhaustive list and does not detail every activity.

Week commencing 11th January.

I leave for the airport at 6am.

I started my week by launching in Early Day Motion (EDM) on the local man Robert Wallace who changed the face of the Royal Mail, I am always keen to take suggestions for EDMs. I met with the British Deaf Association; at a recent visit to St Stephens Academy I was urged to look into what is being done at a UK level to replicate the success of the BSL (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament. I learned a huge amount and was given a great deal to read and mull over. I hope to do some work on this shortly. I had a meeting with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations who briefed us on the work they do with voluntary organisations in Scotland.

Protecting the NHS is something I feel very strongly about so on Monday evening I attended the debate on the NHS bursary which lasted for 3 hours – I’m used to eating late.

A large part of my time is dedicated to my work on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and hearing from whoever is before the Committee. PACAC are currently reviewing the Charity Commission Review Report which is due for publication shortly. We also submitted a report on the ‘Appointment of the UKs delegation to the parliamentary assembly of the council of Europe ‘ to the chamber. This week we were hearing from Dame Julie Mellor from the Health Service Ombudsman. This week the committee also launched the PACE report lead by the Chair of the Committee Bernard Jenkins. I also attended the SNP internal group on Scotland’s Constitution Policy which meet once a week.

Wednesday is always dominated by the pantomime that is Prime Minister’s Questions. My SNP colleagues put questions to the Prime Minister to look again at the transition to equal retirement age. We got little in response. After PMQs the SNP hosted an opposition day debate focused on trade, exports, innovation and productivity.

On Thursday the SNP were also responsible for leading a debate on reforming the House of Lords, this debate was so poorly attended, it seems that the SNP are the only party really interested in true reform. My SNP colleagues and I sat in an almost empty chamber making the case for radical reform to the unelected Lords.

My return flight was at 7:30pm

On Friday morning I visited Sainsbury’s to hear about their involvement in our local community before heading off to my surgeries. My staff members and I held three surgeries throughout Inverclyde in Greenock, Gourock and Port Glasgow. There are a constant flow of constituents coming through the office and I take the opportunity to meet as many as I can on Fridays.

I have a couple of private meetings with constituents on Saturday.

I hope to use this diary piece to better inform the people of Inverclyde of my duties at Westminster. As always, I’m happy to receive your comments and views about my role as Inverclyde’s Member of Parliament and can be contacted at 01475 721 877 or ronnie.cowan.mp@parliament.uk.