Westminster Diary 30 January

Monday I visited the Imperial War Museum to talk about the Stanley Spencer paintings and drawings that they have, either on display or in storage. This was the first step towards investigating the viability of Inverclyde hosting an exhibition of Spencer’s work. My initial conclusion is that a suitable venue may be an issue. I attended the Public Accounts select committee as an observer to hear their evidence session on flooding. I was disappointed that no member pressed the witnesses on reforestation, so I took the opportunity at the end to approach the environmental agency. They were more than happy to discuss it. I attended the adjournment debate on pensions after the house had risen.

Tuesday was a day dominated by meetings. My select committee put the finishing touches to our report on English Votes for English Laws. I also attended the constitution group, all party parliamentary group for Scottish sport and also the SNP group.

On Wednesday I attended a briefing from the Ministry of Defence on the campaign against Daesh. Prior to Prime Ministers Questions, I was fortunate to get a question to Minister for the Cabinet Office. I asked the Government if they thought the constant delays to the Chilcot Report were acceptable. The delayed release of the Chilcot Report is an insult both to those involved in the conflict and to those who lost loved ones. It was during Prime Ministers Questions that David Cameron referred to the refugees at Calais as ‘a bunch of migrants’, demonstrating just how far removed from reality he is. I later spoke in a Westminster hall debate on the Syrian refugee resettlement process. There were a flurry of lobbying groups hosting evening events. I attended the bowel cancer awareness and later the carbon monoxide poisoning events.

On Thursday my day was dominant by the news that Texas Instruments are planning to pull out of Inverclyde. Most of the day was spent talking to various groups, organisations and individuals.

Friday. Back in the constituency. First event was to meet up with the Fire and Rescue team at Greenock Fire station. It was an eye opener for me to see the variety of work undertaken especially the link with the coastguard and diving units. I met WEvolution in their hall in Dempster Street. They are a movement of people with aspirations for a better life for themselves, their families and communities. It was both enjoyable and informative to meet up with them. The afternoon was spent contacting the agencies that help to resolve some of case work that my office takes on.

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