Westminster diary w/b 19th December


I discard my Santa suit and put on my disguise as an M.P. My flight is delayed again. Where are those reindeer when you need them? During the journey I bump into James Cook of the BBC. James is based in Los Angeles now but I met him a few times during the Scottish referendum when he was with BBC Scotland. He has always struck me as a decent guy, prepared to report the facts and let all sides have their say. We have a good chat about Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline protest which he covered. It was good see him. I think I must have forgotten to put the speaker on my Christmas card list as once again I don’t get taken for questions. I am trying to get some research on universal basic income commissioned so I made my pitch to get funded. Time will tell. 


My select committee met to discuss the publishing of our report into the Chilcot report. We agreed that more evidence should be taken and I hope that the final report will be more satisfactory. I attended the debate in the chamber regarding the Murdoch takeover of Sky and the concerns regarding the potential monopoly of the media. I attended a Westminster Hall debate on child poverty. The links between poverty, diet and educational achievement were highlighted many times. I raised the matter of a Universal Basic Income which, in numerous pilot projects, have proven to address this very issue. 


Is almost entirely made up of constituency and case work but I also interview applicants for the caseworker role I require to cover maternity leave. The standard of applicant is extremely high and each would bring something to the role. I am truly spoiled for choice.


My constituency team and I spend a few hours at the Job Centre in Port Glasgow receiving training on Universal Credits. It’s an informative time and interesting to hear how Inverclyde took on the challenge of rolling out Universal Credits, starting with the live service in October last year and now the full service which started in November this year. It’s a huge challenge for the DWP staff. Thanks to both the Kathleen’s, Allan and Dawn for their time and commitment.  


I had the remaining interviews to conduct for my caseworker vacancy and that along with an article and some constituency casework filled my day. In the evening I attended the Riverside Youth Band Christmas concert in Port Glasgow Town Hall. Earlier in the week, I took delivery of the Hot Tips calendars from Age Scotland. Each month the calendars look at issues to help older people get prepared for winter, stay connected in their communities and keep healthy. They are available free from my office which shall be open during the festive season on the 28th and 29th of December and return to normal service on the 4th of January. Have a great Christmas and a peaceful New Year.