Westminster diary w/b 23rd October


A change to my usual routine means I don’t have to go to Westminster until Wednesday. This allows me to spend Monday and Tuesday assisting, or hindering, my office team with the continual stream of casework that my constituency office attracts. And it varies from passport and visa issues to housing, transport and welfare. I am becoming increasingly convinced that Inverclyde requires a Citizen’s Advice Bureau. We are one of two of the thirty two Scottish councils that don’t have one.


Was mostly spent reading the councils budget proposals and writing articles. The variety of tasks that my job offers me never ceases to amaze me but sometimes simply reading and writing is the greatest pleasure.


My slumber is rudely disturbed by my 5am alarm but the good thing about an early start is the road to the airport is quiet. My flight is on time and I make Parliament comfortably by 9:30. I read my briefing papers for the procedure committee on the plane and later in the day we take evidence from the Hansard Society regarding a sifting committee to handle the mass of legislation that Brexit is going to generate in, what for government, is a very short period of time. If Brexit was planned over a ten year time span then it could be done. The outcome wouldn’t be to my liking but robust processes and legislation would be in place. Given the timescale we are working to, that is not going to happen. Scottish Questions consisted of the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, spouting forth about extra powers to the Scottish government and being unable to name one. This is a man that during the Scottish independence referendum continually complained that the SNP were dragging Scotland out of the European Union and today he moaned that we were dragging Scotland into the European Union. You just can’t please some people. Prime Ministers Question time was devoid of any interest unlike an evening event I attended which was hosted by the renewable energy sector. Over the past two years I have been courting renewable energy companies to locate in Inverclyde and although process is slow I still believe there is a possibility. Inchgreen dry dock could play a large part in any negotiations and leaving it effectively mothballed under private ownership when it could be creating work for the local community is nothing short of a crime.


Business questions used to be one of the more entertaining and collegiate events in the chamber but since Andrea Leadsom has taken over the role it has deteriorated. Today she was noticeably rude in her responses, a trait that is becoming increasingly obvious when government ministers are responding to the SNP benches. It’s like they have just realised that we are not going to stop holding them to account and they are becoming irritated and petulant. Despite wide spread disruption my flight to Glasgow was on time. Maybe being on the select committee for transport has its bonuses!


I try to meet with senior council officers on a regular basis. This helps me keep up to date with the issues they face and also helps to create a better working environment. Today I met Scott Allan and as you would expect we discussed the regeneration of Inverclyde. Along with the need to attract companies to Inverclyde it is hugely important that we look after the ones we have. With that in mind I was delighted to have the opportunity to spend part of my day visiting both Cigna and RPC/BPI.