Westminster Diary w/b 17th October

Monday

The seven twenty flight down and the entire day is taken up by reading research papers and administration. Never my favourite days but they need done.

Tuesday

I attended a Westminster hall debate regarding the performance of Concentrix and how they handled the tax credits contract. Given that this issue covers all constituencies it was extremely busy and speakers were limited to two minutes each. There will be a debate in the Chamber on Wednesday which I hope to speak in.

In preparation for Parliament Week 2016 I did an interview for parliament TV about the role of select committees. I attended the Westminster hall debate on the timetable for the type 26 frigates build. Apparently there is no timetable. Another UK Government promise broken and this one leads to the Govan workforce worrying over their jobs. While I was attending the debate I missed the Friends of Palestine event but I had representation there and was fully briefed. The SNP group meeting ended the evening.

Wednesday

I met with the Mark Lancaster MP, Minister for Defence Veterans. Time and time again I have cases brought to me where our military veterans are not being looked after by the system, after they have served. Whether it be poor housing, sleeping rough, addiction, mental health problems or pensions. We are quick to send them into war zones and quick to forget them when they return. I was pursuing a particular case but I was not encouraged by the Minister’s response. PMQ’s came and went and we are none the richer for it. We had two SNP led debates. First on the rights of European Union nationals after we leave the EU. The UK Government were evasive, contradictory and callous in their response. Then we debated the reform of the House of Lords. Nothing new was said and the numbers continue to swell. In contrast, the new Westminster constituency borders were published and the proposal is that Scotland will lose six MPs. Inverclyde expands to cover parts of North Ayrshire, as far as West Kilbride, and Cumbrae. I love Millport and I have friends throughout North Ayrshire but the area covered nearly doubles, as do the number of constituents which can only lead to poorer representation. I was loaded with the cold so headed home at eight PM for an early night.

Thursday

Eight fifteen start to do a quick tour of the estate with constituents. In the house for questions to the Department for Exiting the Europe Union. I didn’t make that up, apparently we do actually have a department called that and then the debate on British Home Stores (BHS), with an amendment to strip Phillip Green of his knighthood. I had an evening event at Severs House.

Friday

Unusually, I was still at Westminster as we have a Private Members Bill brought forward by my SNP colleague, John Nicholson MP. I catch the five pm flight home eager with anticipation for the cup semi- final on Saturday. Mon the Ton!

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