Westminster diary w/b 7th November


A good start to the week as there were no delays to my journey and I am at Westminster by 9:30. However the scheduled debates in the chamber are delayed by statements on the invoking of article 50, promoted by the high court ruling that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU. Then a statement on a better defence estate, which encompasses the planned closure of Fort George after 250 years. The main debate in the chamber is around protecting workers rights upon exiting the European Union.


My Select Committee has two investigations on the go and we took evidence regarding them both. Firstly from Gus O’Donnell (former Cabinet Secretary) on the work of the civil service. We also heard from the father of Sam Morrish. Sam died of Sepsis and his father, Scott, has been seeking answers to questions around his death for over five years now. The Public Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) have published two reports but we are no nearer to guaranteeing that the issues that matter have been resolved. I had a fantastic meeting with Gillian Stamp. Gillian is an adviser to the Select Committee and runs her own company ‘Bioss’ which provides advice to people and institutions in both the private and public sectors. She helps her clients make sense of uncertainties, clarify opportunities, and initiate positive change. I found my time with her extremely useful. I squeezed in two Westminster Hall debates before rushing home. First debate was on independent adviser on Minister’s affairs and the second on sentencing for animal cruelty.


November recess gave me the opportunity to spend Wednesday in the constituency. It was most consumed by research and writing. In the evening I had the privilege of attending the awards ceremony for graduates from West College Scotland. It was great to see so many people achieve their academic goals and good to see so many mature students too. My one disappointment was the continuing gender balance that’s sees less woman than men graduate from the faculty of business and technology. It’s an issue I know that people have worked hard to redress but it continues to frustrate.


If only every morning was like this one. I had the pleasure and privilege of hosting a meeting with a dozen local stakeholders to discuss the regeneration of Inverclyde. This follows on from a paper I published entitled ‘the island of Inverclyde’. Time spent with positive, innovate, creative achievers is time well spent. We shall be meeting again in the New Year and hopefully these small steps can lead to greater things. In the afternoon I met with constituents and in the evening had a quick meeting with town centre residents and discussed the improvements required to enhance town centre living.


I had my regular meetings within the Chief Executive of Inverclyde Council where we talk all things Inverclyde. The rest of the day is taken up by meetings with constituents. My day was saddened by the death of Leonard Cohen. A compassionate writer and a man of peace and love. In these times of increasing xenophobia and hatred we need all the poets we can get.