Westminster diary w/b 10th July

Monday

Thankfully, I had no early morning flight to London as the parliamentary business was light. Who knew the Government had a razor thin majority which meant very little, if any meaningful debate before summer recess.

This meant I was able to spend the day in the constituency office working on research and casework. I was delighted to welcome Andrew, a work experience pupil, from St Columba’s High School, Gourock into the office. Andrew will be spending a number of days in the constituency office learning about politics and the Westminster system.

I caught the evening flight down to London in preparation for a busy few days.

Tuesday

The Government announced the findings of Matthew Taylor’s review into the so-called gig economy. It’s estimated that 1.1million people work in the gig economy for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. Unfortuantely, the report did little to appease concerns about zero hour contracts and no mention was made to introducing a universal basic income. I asked the Minister, during the statement, whether the Government would consider looking into a basic income. I believe a basic income, for all, could play an important role in supporting those in the gig economy who are vulnerable to zero hour contracts and irregular shift patterns.

I had a catch-up meeting with the Solar Trade Association to discuss solar deployment in Scotland. The organisation continue to be encouraged by the efforts of the Scottish Government to promote renewable technology.

Tuesday evening was taken up by a discussion I was sponsoring alongside the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) on drugs policy. The event include health practitioners, policy analysts, doctors and professors. It was a discussion regarding the need for pragmatic drug policy reform based on evidence and ethics to prioritise health and human rights, and what role the medical establishment can and should play in driving forward this debate and reform.

I was delighted how the discussion went and look forward to making further progress, with interested parties, on this important health issue.

Wednesday

My first engagement was a Parliamentary CND meeting where we discussed the recent talks at the United Nations on the nuclear weapons ban treaty. The U.K. Government were not present at the UN talks.

The usual PMQs was not the usual PMQs as the Prime Minister was absent due to the visit of the King of Spain. This meant the Punch and Judy show was led by others with the usual back and forward resulting in nothing!

The afternoon I dropped in to two parliamentary events, the first was Cancer Research UK where we discussed measures to prevent cancer in Inverclyde. Obesity is one of the big issues we currently face here in the west of Scotland. Next, I attended a briefing on energy prices and how residents in Inverclyde are being ripped off by £4.73 million on their energy bills. In the evening I attended the Electoral Reform Society summer reception.

Thursday

At 9:30am I attended transport question time in the chamber where the Minister answered, or tried to, a number of questions. My colleague Alan Brown MP has recently taken on the Shadow Transport role for the SNP.

In the afternoon, I spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on organ donation. The Scottish Government announced it intends to introduce legislation for a soft opt out system of organ and tissue donation.

I then caught an evening flight back to Glasgow.

Friday

I met with the recently appointed Head of Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) as a way of introduction and to ensure my office has a good working relationship with the organisation.

I then had a meetings with Ardgowan Hospice and finished with a discussion with the health board.

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