Westminster diary w/b 27th March


It is an early start to the week as I walk past the huge array of flowers that adorn the main gates. They have been placed there by well-wishers following the atrocity of the previous week. Westminster continues to be a tourist attraction, work place and a secure haven thanks to the selfless commitment of the many police and security personnel that, day in day out, put member’s safety before their own. We are forever in their debt.

By the luck of the draw I have a question to the minister for the department of work and pensions. I choose to highlight the ignorance in withdrawing Motability cars from claimants while their appeals are on-going. Upon a successful appeal, cars are re-instated but the inconvenience of being without during the appeal process should not be underestimated and is unnecessary.


My Select Committee is reviewing the House of Lords and bi-cameral systems in general. We shall also be asking the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) to come in front of the committee so we can question him over the jobs he has taken on since leaving the cabinet but remaining as an MP. I had a meeting with PCS to discuss the rationale behind the closure of Job Centres. I attended an Irlen awareness event. I hope to progress this with the help of local autism groups as the conditions are often linked. I then went in front of the back bench business committee along with Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) to plead our case for a debate on the war on drugs. Finally I attended the white ribbon campaign and was interested to hear the support from other groups with regard to the Istanbul Convention.


I dropped in on a Parkinson’s Awareness event and then went to Prime Ministers Question time. It was always going to be a long day for the Prime Minister as immediately after PMQs was the Brexit statement. Members can stand for questions pertaining to any statement and on this occasion we did. One hundred and thirteen of us. Eventually after bobbing I got to ask when the Scottish Government would have the opportunity to add some meat to the bones of the statement which was no more than clichés and platitudes.

I sat in on the emergency debate on ‘changes to the Personal Independence Payment’ and finished the day at the All-party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport. I met with Sport Scotland and the lawn tennis association to discuss an indoor complex in Inverclyde.


A morning of reading and writing, including an article on prostitution for Politics Home was followed up by an afternoon with my constitution team. Personally I am trying to wrap my head round how, powers returned from the European Union that are in areas devolved to Scotland will be effected by the Sewell convention and Henry VIII clauses. I would like to think they won’t be but nobody will give me that guarantee.


Back in the constituency for a meeting with council officers regarding regeneration. This sits nicely with my later meeting with Scottish Enterprise on the same subject. Other constituency meetings complete the day.