Westminster diary w/b 10th September


I delayed my departure to London so I could attend the funeral of George Fellows. George was the husband of my colleague Marion Fellows MP for Motherwell and Wishaw and George was a campaigner and supporter for many years. George was another victim of cancer taken far too early.


My select committee for the constitution and public administration took evidence from the Minister Chloe Smith MP. The main thrust of the enquiry is voter ID. Five trails have been run in England where voters have to provide independent identification before they can vote. A polling card is deemed to be not enough. The aim is to cut down on electoral fraud. Part of the problem is we don’t really know how big the problem is. I also attended the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure. It was interesting but not terribly engaging.


The main of the event should be Prime Minister’s Questions but it was the usual shouting match. However the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals was a riot. Representatives of the gaming industry came to give evidence to back up their claims that it will take between 9 and 12 months to implement a maximum stake of £2 a spin. And they can’t start until a statutory instrument (SI) is passed. Both claims are spurious. I say that from a background of 35 years in I.T. and the knowledge that the S.I. states a maximum spin of £2 across the board and that’s all they need to know.


I spent the morning researching and writing a speech. I then travelled to Barcelona where I am speaking at the Unconditional Basic Income Europe conference. Westminster went into conference recess today. It’s an opportunity for those of us in the SNP to pursue wider issues as our conference is not until October.


I spoke at the conference. It is great to see so many countries across the globe represented.

I shall be attending the conference and hosting events on Saturday and Sunday.

Next week

On Monday, I am visiting drug consumption rooms in Barcelona including their mobile unit. In the evening I shall be visiting the Catalan National Assembly and get a briefing on the political situation in Catalonia. On Tuesday, I am meeting a range of parliamentarians and then visiting Jorge Cuixart who has been imprisoned due to his involvement in the referendum last October. There will then be more meetings with a number of ministers. On Wednesday, the main item of the day is a meeting with President Quim Torra. And then back to Inverclyde.