Westminster Diary 23 April


I attended a drop in event to highlight the Trade Union Congress campaign entitled ‘dying to work’. During defence questions I asked the Minister if he was doing anything to remove the ordinance left in the Clyde. He isn’t. My select committees report into the appointment of the commissioner for public appointments was presented to the house and I took the opportunity to put on record my disgust at the continued cronyism attached to these appointments. The last debate in the house was on brain tumour research.


My select committee took evidence regarding ex ministers appointments in the private sector. There was a great exchange between Paul Flynn MP and the Right Honourable Baroness Angela Browning (Chair of the advisory committee on business appointments). I would recommend viewing it on parliament TV. It is not often somebody gives as good as they get with Paul but the baroness gave a very good account of herself. In the house for statement on Libya. Attended All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on fixed odds betting terminals, followed by the APPG on betting and gaming. And to keep the balance a meeting with the Responsible Gambling Trust to discuss the issues of dormant betting accounts and gambling related harm. I attended the SNP Constitution group and the, in between lots of votes, I managed to sit down with an organisation called ‘Seeds of Change’. They provide counselling and help young adults back into education. Their engagement involves equine studies, which is new to me and extremely interesting.
The day came to a close after the SNP group meeting.


William Hill breakfast – I took the opportunity to ask about dormant accounts and charges on unused accounts after 24 months. PMQs I took part in the debate on Vellum. Or to be more precise the recording of parliamentary acts on vellum (pigs or goats skin). It was interesting because despite the House of Lords voting to end this practice, the commons want to keep it. This falls under the remit of my select committee so I took the opportunity to speak. I attended the Living Wage launch for water companies.


I was due to meet with BT Openreach but I had a question accepted for culture media and sport and that took priority. During a week heavily influenced by gambling lobbyists it seemed only fitting to ask the Government minister how much funding was provided for research, education and treatment regarding gambling related harm. I attended a discussion on the “Ethics of nuclear war”. An engrossing explanation from activists and members of different religions as to why morally there is no place for Trident or its successor. Then I met up with the head of public affairs for Virgin Media. I was particularly interested to hear of a potential opportunity that may exist for Kilmacolm to get superfast high speed broadband.


Morning was all constituency work.
Afternoon campaigning for Holyrood election.