Westminster diary w/b 21st November


Business in the House of Commons was slow and not pertinent to Scotland so I worked in my constituency office and caught the 8pm flight. It was of course delayed and I reach my flat at midnight.


My select committee took evidence pertaining to our report on the Public Health Ombudsman and in particular the NHS handling of the Sam Moorish case. Sam was a toddler that tragically died from Sepsis. We were scheduled to close off a report about inter parliamentary relationships but I had tabled so many amendments that we carried that business over until next week. I attended a meeting with Narcotics Anonymous which proved interesting and worthwhile. Jess Phillips (Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley) and I will be looking to bring forward a debate around this topic sometime in the future. I then had the great pleasure of attending a reception hosted by BT to promote their broadband service. It’s not a great service locally but I was pleased to meet Val Lawrence who is busy making a great success of her business (Stella and Dot) with the help of a BT fibre to the premises (FTTP) connection. It’s that level of service we should all be experiencing. 

I rounded the day off with a Scottish constitution meeting and an internal SNP group meeting. 


Parliamentary CND meetings are always a good start to the day, following them with questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland is not so good. The Secretary came mob handed this week with all his Ministers and as a result hardly answered any questions himself, preferring to remain in a sedentary position and nod a lot. Prime Ministers Questions was no better than last week, which avid readers will remember was appalling. But all of this was merely a prelude to the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer during which he manoeuvred his position away from his predecessor and confessed that the UK will not have a debt of almost two trillion pounds. This is the debt George Osborne told us he was wiping out. I get the feeling George bailed out just in time. 

In the late afternoon I attended a drop in session to launch the ‘target ovarian cancer pathfinder study event’. I heard testimony from woman who had survived ovarian cancer but were highlighting how lucky they had been to get diagnosed early. They believe and the study confirms that not enough GPs are aware of the symptoms and many woman are missing out on an early diagnosis.  


I start with an interview with the people who run the lobbying site 38 Degrees. We agree to disagree that they are a lobbying site. They are looking into problem gambling and attended the recent session where MP’s took evidence regarding Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. We are discussing the viability of a campaign to raise awareness amongst my fellow MPs. The rest of my day was given up to research and I caught the 6pm flight. 


I had a meeting with two local stakeholders in a project I am working on. A great deal of my job involves networking and it’s always gratifying when I can help put people and organisations together so they can collaborate on ventures within Inverclyde.

I attended and spoke at the Careers Rights Day in the Tontine Hotel. Many people who care for a friend or loved one would not recognise themselves as careers and therefore don’t seek the support they are due. We are working towards resolving this. Carers input is estimated as being worth nearly £11bn a year to the NHS in Scotland alone although the value goes way beyond money. In the evening I spoke at a St Andrews dinner in Ayr.

On Saturday I shall be talking all things Universal Basic Income at the Pearce Institute in Govan.