Westminster Diary 30 April


5am rise and an early flight to London.
I had an interview on Al Jazeera TV regarding the role of Prince Charles within the monarchy. It was primarily about his interference via the ‘spider letters’ and my opinion was sought because of my contribution to the constitution committee. My views were maybe not as interesting as the view from floor sixteen of the Shard where Al Jazeera are located.

The UK Government’s decision to delay the start of the building of type 26 frigates at BAE on the upper Clyde prompted an urgent question in the house and a loud and passionate exchange took place. The minister would not acknowledge that a delay would lead to redundancies.
The evening was taken up by the immigration bill which culminated in 5 votes and therefore it was midnight before I managed to wind my weary way home.


My select committee sat at 9am and we took evidence from the UK statistics authority and it was as interesting as it sounds. Sir Andrew Dilnot did object to my Mark Twain quote “lies, damn lies and statistics”. I visited a briefing session with the Heritage lottery fund which was extremely interesting and I hope to be seeing them soon in regard to possible funding for a project within Inverclyde. I met representatives from the Renewable Energy Forum and was pleased to hear they have 750 companies registered with them. From large household names to one man and his log. I visited a drop in event to gain knowledge and help publicise the UK Sepsis Trust. Sepsis is currently the cause of 44,000 deaths per year in the UK.

After the SNP group meeting I attended the Save the Children campaign launch in the Speakers rooms.


My first diary event was a meeting with Ofcom via the All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Broadband. Prime minister’s question time was the poorest I have attended. The majority of it was no more than petty point scoring between Mr Cameron and Mr Corbyn. It was neither constructive nor challenging. Following the Hillsborough inquiry report there was an urgent statement in the house during which Andy Burnham MP made an extremely moving and eloquent speech. The late afternoon and early evening were consumed by the Trade Union Bill. I then attended an ambassador’s reception for the Faroe Islands. I was interested to learn about the Islands and note that in London the Faroe Islands, Denmark and Iceland share an embassy. Take note for a future independent Scotland.


Questions to the Leader of the House are always entertaining and can be quite light hearted. This week they were followed by an urgent question on trade unions. In actual fact it was an attack on the government abusing their powers to promote the Remain campaign in the EU referendum. The fact that it was a Conservative MP that raised the question tells you everything you need to know about the in fighting in that party. We then had a debate to highlight World Autism Awareness Week. I was proud to contribute to this debate and include contributions from Inverclyde constituents. A number of members told very personal stories of family members who are on the autistic spectrum.


Personal engagements.