Westminster diary w/b 4th July

Monday

Early flight and straight to my office.

I returned the hospitality shown to me and others by the Disney Cruise organisation when their cruise ship was recently in Greenock, by giving them a tour of Westminster. Monday mornings are usually good for this as neither house is sitting and we can get access to them. Prior the publication I attended a private screening of the film ‘We are Many’. It was made by Amir Amirani and tells the story of the protests prior to the decision to go to war in Iraq and the subsequent events after we did. It is a powerful testament to people power and the ignorance of a parliament that would not listen.

Tuesday

I attended a drop-in event for Arthritis Research UK in-connection with the launch of their new report “Working with arthritis” which provides a set of recommendations for the UK Government to help people with arthritis return to, and remain in, work. Their aim is to use their research and expertise to have a positive impact on the millions of people in the UK who live with the pain of arthritis every day. Their long -term commitment is prevention, developing a cure, and transforming lives.

I led a Westminster Hall debate on ‘Dormant Betting Accounts’. My intention is to get the Gambling Commission to ensure that dormant accounts are used to fund research into gambling related harm. If the Gambling Commission will not, take said action, then I hope to encourage the UK Government to legislate along these lines.

I dropped into an event hosted by Cancer Research UK. Four in ten cancer cases can be prevented and their focus is on educating people in the risks they face. The top five causes are smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption and over exposure to the sun.

My last event of the evening was an SNP group meeting where we hosted speakers from the STUC.

Wednesday

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) took evidence from three individuals whose lives had been devastated by these machines. Their testaments were both powerful and moving. I then had time to catch Prime Ministers questions and stayed in the chamber for the Prime Minister’s statement on the Chilcot Inquiry. The Chilcot Inquiry had taken seven years to produce a report and cost £10m to do so. It is over two million words long. Not surprisingly we all have an executive summary of 147 pages to work from.

In the late afternoon I met up with a representative from the UK cinema association. We discussed a range of issues including healthy eating and live arts and cultural events.

Thursday

Up at 5am and make my way to the Talk Radio studio to do the paper review. Chilcot dominated the headlines but I also managed to cover the leadership race for the Conservatives and challenge in the Labour Party. Alistair Campbell took part too in his capacity as Tony Blair’s chief spin doctor. As soon as that finished I hot footed it across London (I should have got the tube but didn’t realise it was so far) to a meeting with BT Openreach in their headquarters. Then it was back to Westminster for a debate, in the chamber, on creative industries.

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