Westminster Diary w/b 24th October


I started the week with one of my regular meetings with a council officer. These meetings are always beneficial and go a long way to creating a good working environment between elected members and the council management so we can work together for Inverclyde.

I then met a local stakeholder to discuss progressing our vision for a progressive positive Inverclyde and how best to regenerate the area. Parking issues are never far away and this week I met with representatives from ScotRail, Inverclyde council, Transport Scotland and the business community in Wemyss Bay to review the parking inside and outside the station and on the main road through the town. The remainder of the day was given up to constituents issues. The plan was to get an evening flight but as there were no votes I took the option to stay at home and make an early start on Tuesday.


As my alarm went off at 4am I realised that yesterday’s decision to stay at home was not my best. Fortunately my travel arrangements went to plan and I was on the estate for the start of my Select Committee at 9am. We took evidence regarding parliamentary standards and the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoBA). Paul Flynn has returned to the committee after his stint as an opposition front bench spokesman and the committee is the better for it. The exchanges between Paul and Baroness Browning who chairs the ACOBA are always entertaining and charged with passion. I attended a debate on the return of the Chagossians to their homeland after fifty years of forced exile. It’s clear hypocrisy from the UK government that they are committed to keeping the Malvinas occupied but cleared the Chagos Islands to facilitate a U.S. Air Force base. I attended a briefing for SNP MPs entitled ‘The economic implications of leaving the EU’. It was delivered by Professor Andrew Hughes-Halley from St Andrews University. It was certainly not a laugh a minute. The last meeting was an internal SNP MPs group meeting.


The morning was given up to research and writing. Prime Ministers Questions started of looking as though it could be good but it wasn’t. We have an intransigent government led by a Prime Minister that seems determined to forge a reputation of being strong but wrong. I spoke in the debate regarding Concentrix and their handling of the tax credit issues. This goes far wider than one company and asks questions of HMRC, the government and the welfare system at large. During the following debate on the Yemen, Boris Johnson argued that war zones are bad but if one exists it benefits from British involvement. Imperialism at its worst. In the evening I attended Poppy Scotland’s launch in Dover House.


I had an interview with the Sunday Herald regarding the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) event I am chairing in the Gamble Halls on Thursday 3rd November. They say no publicity is bad publicity but we shall wait and see. If it helps raise awareness around the scourge of drug addiction then that can only be a good thing. I had a briefing on Northern Ireland’s take on Brexit.


Starts with constituency meetings and then a quick review of the disability confident event I am co-sponsoring on the 4th November. This is followed by a visit to the Parklea Branching Out farm shop opening. Which is good timing as I have run out of their jam. I then met up with a company regarding funeral and bereavement policy and welfare. I dropped in to the opening of Stuart McMillan MSPs new office and then on to ‘Pools of Thought’ at the Beacon. In the evening I dropped in for a question and answer session with the 3rd Gourock Boys Brigade.

Saturday I shall be attending the Nordic Horizons event in Edinburgh and on Sunday the Rum Retort exhibition in the Tobacco Warehouse.