Westminster Diary 16 April


Early start and off to Westminster. I attended an event with the Italian Minster for the Constitution, Maria Elena Boschi, where she outlined the wide ranging changes to the Italian Constitution. During questions to the Home Office Minister I was keen to ask the Minister a question regarding UK visas on behalf of a constituent so I dutifully bobbed up and down as is required but unfortunately I didn’t get taken. This was a small inconvenience compared to the hoops my constituent has jumped through to try and satisfy the home office and UK embassies. I attended a drop in for World Autism Day and finished off the day with a late vote on the Finance Bill.


My Select Committee meeting beat its own longevity record and lasted four and a half hours. It culminated in an unsatisfactory appointment being made to the position of Public Appointments Commissionaire. The day improved during the internal group meeting and finished with a really interesting talk from Richard Murphy, author of ‘The Joy of Tax’, about taxation and why Scotland as an independent country should have its own currency.


I was on Talk Radio at 8am to discuss dormant betting accounts and fixed odd betting terminals (FOBTs). The host is Paul Ross, brother of Jonathan, and I have been invited back to do the paper review slot. I accepted before they told me it went on air at 7am. The CND parliamentary group was very productive and I look forward to a briefing we have commissioned on the number of jobs that are dependent on the support of weapons of mass destruction. PMQ was, not surprisingly, dominated by the Panama Papers story. The highlight of the day was a hugely interesting all party group on biomass fuel systems. It was encouraging to see the depth of support and hunger for renewable energy across the UK. I also participated in a demonstration calling for more support for those who have been affected by contaminated blood. The demonstration took place whilst a backbench debate took place in the Chamber.


There were two interesting debates in the house; the Chilcot Report and more specifically the national security checking of the Iraq Inquiry Report. We wait to see how much shall be redacted. The final debate was about diversity in the BBC.


My day is filled with meetings in Inverclyde.