Westminster diary w/b 5th February


The select committee for Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs (PACAC) is taking evidence from members of the Welsh assembly so I caught a flight down on Sunday evening. It was clear during the session that despite the fact that the Welsh electorate voted to leave the European Union they are less than pleased with the way negotiations have been handled and in particular the lack of respect shown to the Welsh Assembly. I travel with the committee members and clerks by train to London. Not surprisingly it’s three hour journey during which the conversation turns to politics. The debate is actually better than many in the House of Commons. I make it back in time to attend the select committee on transport. We take evidence from two of the senior managers proposing a third runway at Heathrow. They are very slick and extremely well briefed. The financial argument is strong but the additional air pollution and noise pollution seem to have been pushed to the side. Especially as the flight routes have still to be defined. Local activists are in attendance and I had an interesting chat with them at the end.


An early start with a Delegated Legislation committee. We were debating the draft Seafarers (Insolvency, Collective Redundancies and Information and Consultation Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018. It was not contentious and we rattled through it. Which was just as well as I had a closed meeting with PACAC to discuss outstanding reports and future business to attend. The Ombudsman, House of Lords Reform, the advisory committee on business appointments and existing the European Union and its effect on the devolved administrations shall all come under our scrutiny.


I got the train home last night so that I can address a number of issues in the constituency. Recess is until the 20th of February so I have a decent period of time to accommodate everyone. The day flashed by with constituency work and Maree Todd MSP (Minister for Childcare and Early Years) dropped in as she was in the neighbourhood. It’s always good to catch up with Holyrood colleagues and get their perspective of things. When I am in Inverclyde I try to take in as many community councils I can so this evening I went to the Larkfield, Braeside and Branchton meeting. The main concerns were the effect of council cuts to community assets. It was good to hear that the reported crime was low.


Was a day spent mostly researching and writing. I tend to work up speeches and articles and then when the time comes to use them they get polished and validated. Days like this save me a lot of time later.


First meeting is at the Greenock jobcentre to find out how they are adjusted to the closure of the jobcentre in Port Glasgow. All the services are being transferred and vacant space utilised. I have a meeting with local businesses about the cost of employment. I attended the local launch of the year of the young people. This year will see an exciting programme of educational and cultural events centred on Scotland’s great assets, our young people, driven by collaboration across a range of sectors and interests. I find it difficult to square this with the council’s decision to withdraw funding for a number of local youth projects.