Westminster diary w/b 18th July


Last week, before recess and the new Prime Minister has brought forward the vote on the replacement of the four vanguard submarines. There are statements about the tragic events in Nice and accordingly, the debate will be shortened. In truth it’s not a debate, they never are. Although the wording of the motion is about the successor submarines the vote is really a green light for Trident renewal. Those in favour make the case for jobs, deterrent and even, would you believe it, the moral high ground. Those against point out the under investment in conventional armed forces, the growing belief that they are not a deterrent, the way in which jobs can be created and maintained without them and the gross inhumanity of such weapons.


Very much a case of the morning after the night before. I had very little sleep, mainly due to summer arriving in London and bringing with it the sort of hot sticky humid nights that big cities do so well. To compound matters I had an early meeting. London was boiling but fortunately I was cooling down. It turned out to be a day of meetings. Interestingly more happens at these events than comes out of the talking on the green benches. My Select Committee has lost two Labour members to the shadow cabinet and one Conservative to the government, so with fewer members we get through business quicker. We shall be heavily involved in monitoring the Brexit process, after recess.


A day to tie up loose ends at Westminster before recess. I share my office with Gavin Newlands MP for Renfrewshire West, he is extremely untidy and uses all my stationary but we seem to have made it so far without coming to blows. So with my office tidy, my flat tidy, I’m in the chamber for finance debate and vote at 19:00. Unfortunately my flight is delayed and its 23:45 before I am home.


A day spent in the constituency office to meet with constituents and Inverclyde Council. In the evening I attended the CVS event at Kip Marina. The event was designed to inform people about the LEADER programme, it’s a great way to get funding for local projects. It is always worth checking out the website www.fundingscotland.com to see what’s available.


First item on the agenda of a packed day is the Business Improvement District (BID) at the Beacon. It is about businesses working together and investing collectively in local improvements which contribute to the wider aspirations of the local residential community and grow the local economy. Then a visit to Argyll Training who provide training and education to support the needs of businesses and individuals. By lunchtime it’s a visit to Your Voice community care forum in Clyde square. Their role is to enable the voice of local people. The day continues with a visit to the Inverclyde Council on Disability with Councillor Jim MacLeod. Last appointment of the day is a chat with representatives of the Beacon to talk about a range of future projects.