Westminster Diary w/b 11th September


Up at the crack of dawn to catch the red eye to London. It’s delayed! I have arranged to meet lobby groups at Westminster in the morning and later I attended the launch of the Institute for Policy Research forthcoming Policy Brief, titled Assessing the Case for Universal Basic Income in the UK. It was followed by a vigorous discussion. Back at Westminster and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is debated late into the night and voting was concluded at half past midnight which means I am home by 1am.


In my office for 8:30am and to give constituents a tour of the estate. Early in the morning is always best as I can get access to both the House of Lords and House of Commons. I have a meeting with the organisation Voltface at which we discuss the legalisation of cannabis. I attended an event on ‘Problem gambling focused on woman’ followed by a meeting with the hair industry looking at its importance to high streets throughout the UK. I met with the minister for work and pensions Damian Hinds to talk about the job centre closure in Port Glasgow and the transition of service to Greenock. As an aside, his office is in the ‘lower ministerial corridor’ which despite spending £130,000 on vermin control last year on the estate, the ‘lower ministerial corridor’ is still overrun with mice.


I am on three select committees and they all chose today to get together for the first time in this parliamentary session to go through the necessary paperwork and look to setting timetables. First was transport, then public administration and constitutional affairs and finally the procedure committee. Between these meetings I met with Amnesty International, attended the all party parliamentary group on prostitution, sat in on a debate on the relationship between Scotland and Malawi. In Scotland there are over 1,100 organisation with links to Malawi including 9 schools in Inverclyde that work in collaboration and respect with schools in Malawi. My last event was the all party parliamentary group on drugs policy and we had guest speakers talking about medicinal cannabis. I had to wait until 7pm to see if there was going to be any votes but there were not. I caught the 20:30 flight home.


A sad start to the day attending the funeral of the ex-councillor Jim Grieve. Jim was well known in his ward and cared deeply about this area. My next two meetings were with PG Paper and later Ferguson Marine. Both local companies determined to stay here and contribute to our community for many years to come. In the evening I attended a magnificent public meeting in Kilmacolm. The only item on the agenda is the proposed purchase of land by a property speculator. When six hundred people turn out for a meeting in the local church hall it’s is clear so see they mean business. They were well informed and extremely eloquent in putting forward their case. Kilmacolm is ready for the fight ahead.


I attended a joint MP and MSP event in Edinburgh.