Westminster diary w/b 9th January


Back in the old routine after recess and reacquainting myself to the joys of a 5am start. The tube strike is all over the news and alternative methods of transport are stretched to their limits, which is a shame because large parts of the tube are still running and the disruption need not be as widespread as it is. My first meeting is with my colleague Stuart McDonald MP (Cumbernauld) as we are jointly applying for a debate on spousal visas. I am on the order papers for questions to the welfare minister and I take the opportunity to ask about Universal Basic Income. He is extremely dismissive, so nothing new there. At least my question made it out of the ballot, hopefully a sign of things to come. In the late afternoon I am sitting on a Direct Legislation (DL) committee. Its role is to amend the legislation pertaining to prosecuting the supply of illegal drugs. The UK is awash with MPAs and the law continually requires adjusting to keep up with the manufacturers who amend the recipes. This type of tweaking of the law is unsustainable and new drug laws are badly needed.

I have the opportunity to visit the ‘I am a Refugee’ campaign which celebrates the contribution refugees have made, historically and currently, to life in the UK.


I am off site attending a seminar with my Select committee colleagues. It was extremely interesting and should prove very useful when it comes to the committee working closer together in their evidence gathering role before we produce reports. It was run by a Scottish organisation. All the good stuff at Westminster is run by Scottish organisations. I have a meeting of the Scottish constitution group in the afternoon and later on Stuart McDonald MP and I make our pitch to the back bench business committee for our debate. We are successful and the date is set for the 31st of January.


Started with the All-party parliamentary group on the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or the APPG for CND as its known. It’s a good group with SNP, Labour and Green all represented. We are planning days of action and media evens working up to the meetings on disarmament at the United Nations in New York which the UK government has decided not to attend. So much for their stated position of multilateral disarmament. There is a security briefing for all MPs which unusually is held in the chamber. The rest of the day is reading and research with a few phone calls to local stakeholders. My main business for Thursday is cancelled at the last minute so I grab the 20:30 flight home.


An unexpected day in the constituency office allows me to read up on the complexity of Brexit and work on articles I am writing for the RSA. I also take the opportunity to meet a couple of local business owners and listen to their concerns.


First meeting is with the CEO of Inverclyde council (Aubrey Fawcett). We do this on a monthly basis and talk about Inverclyde and its place in the world. This is followed up by a hospital appointment and then I am attending the official opening of Kilmacolm Primary School. The final part of my day is taken up discussing constituent casework with my staff.