Westminster diary w/b 19th February


This is the last day of recess. I use it to catch up with the paperwork that I should have already caught up with, such is recess. I meet a land management company. This is one of these spin offs from a speculative meeting in Westminster when I identified a local connection. In the afternoon I caught up with Ferguson Marine. Anyone who has visited the site over the last few years would be hugely impressed with the progress that has been made. The financial investment is reaping its rewards. Going forward, any Ministry of Defence work that can be secured would be extremely welcome too.


An early start ensures I am at Westminster for 9:30am. My select committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs takes evidence in a private session from people close to the collapse of Carillion. These private sessions, although they are confidential, provide me with the information I require to constructively question the senior members of Carillion next week when they come in front of the committee in public. An urgent question in the chamber on medicinal cannabis gives me the opportunity to highlight the case of Alfie Dingley. He can suffer from as many as thirty fits in a day and we know they can be controlled by medicinal cannabis but the Home Office will not permit it. The select committee on transport takes evidence from a number of stakeholders in aviation regarding a proposed new runway at Heathrow. I was hoping to attend the London School of Economics as part of a panel talking on Basic Income but I could not get away from the estate.


My first meeting is with an energy consortium that have created an energy park much like the one I outlined for Spango Valley. I shall be taking them up with their offer to visit it soon. I met the Mum of Billy Caldwell. Billy like Alfie suffers from epilepsy and has seizures. His are controlled by medicinal cannabis and his family are looking to help other families in the same situation gain access. Prime Minister’s Question time was a fairly drab affair. This is reflected in the number of members that are no longer attending. It is not the energy charged hot House it used to be. I attend a drop in for ‘Disability Confident’ and share our local experiences with the organisers. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy reform is a lively affair as we feel we may be getting somewhere with medicinal cannabis. In the evening I attend an event to hear Johann Hari talk about his latest book ‘Lost Connections’  the causes of depression and the solutions. I am hoping to get Johann to come to Inverclyde to talk at some time.


I am scheduled to speak in a debate on the Cancer Strategy but I am changed to summing up which means a hasty rewrite so I can facilitate the summary aspect as well. The debate goes well and many members from across the house made valuable contributions. I caught the 19:30 flight home.


A busy day in the constituency includes casework and meetings. It is finished off with an evening with the local police incident officer. I attended the briefing and local incidents until 23:00. A lot the work carried out by our local police force goes unnoticed but its cumulative effect makes our society a safer and better place to live in.