Westminster Diary 5 March

Unusually I was already in London so I was spared my 5am alarm. The day was a real mixed bag of debates and events from steel to EU referendum and questions on defence. But the most interesting was a round table event with LEAP (law enforcement against prohibition). This is a pressure group that seeks to investigate a road map of drug regulation. The expert testimonies from ex law enforcement officers were both enlightening and thought provoking. I am looking into bringing a representation to Inverclyde.

Days that include a meeting of my select committee are always challenging because of the preparation involved, the time committed and the fact that it is scrutinised under the watchful eye of the television cameras, so a day with two such meetings is always going to be extra demanding. Tuesday was one such day. In the morning we took evidence regarding inter constitutional relations within the UK and in the afternoon we took evidence from Jeremy Heywood (head of the civil service) regarding the role of the civil service in the upcoming EU referendum, particularly in regard to cabinet ministers access to information if they have declared their intention to vote to leave. Between these meetings I attended a round table on responsible gambling and a drop in event for the Marie Curie’s great daffodil appeal.

I started the day supporting the world wildlife fund event and mugged up for a photo op with two toy pandas (as we do), I bumped into Tom Tughendhat a Conservative MP who was also there to support the WWF. We work together on the public administration and constitution select committee and I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to remind Tom that there are more pandas in Scotland than conservative MPs. Before Prime Ministers questions (PMQs) there was a drop in session to support a more favourable tax arrangement with Malawi. PMQs was the usual Punch and Judy show that undermines the work done by good MPs across the UK. More informative was the discussion with the lobby group feminista and cross party MPs regarding the decriminalising of prostitution. The proposed change in law is not the same as proposed in Scotland but both aim to improve a dire situation and protect vulnerable people. I attended a debate on end of life care and was disappointed to hear that the UK government has not identified their estimated expenditure on palliative care despite being pushed to do so by all parties during a debate on assisted dying a few months ago. I ended the day with votes around the Lords amendments to the social welfare bill. All amendments were voted down by the Conservatives and on the final vote Labour abstained again.

Started the day with culture media and sport questions in the house. Unusually there was no select committee today and so I took the opportunity to grab an earlier flight and head into my Inverclyde office to liaise with my team and read the case work for Friday’s surgeries.

A Hectic day with surgeries in Port Glasgow, Greenock and Gourock. In between which I visited Ferguson Marine as part of Scottish apprenticeship week and had private meetings with constituents. In the evening I attended the Innerkip society dinner.