Westminster diary w/b 4th February


Business continues to be slow at Westminster as the government is completely incapacitated by the prospect of leaving the European Union. I utilised my time away by holding extra meetings with constituents. Until Westminster sorts itself out, if that is possible, then I shall be making plans to spend as much time in Inverclyde as I can and use that time constructively.  


Paying the price for not travelling down yesterday and caught the red eye to London. Despite a slight delay due to fog I was in Westminster by 9:30 and started the day with the select committee for Transport. We took evidence from the road haulage industry regarding Brexit. This was a follow up session to a previous one where we took evidence from the rail haulage industry. It’s an accurate reflection on the evidence provided that the haulage industry has been dreadfully under-represented in any withdrawal discussions. There are a host of questions unanswered that need to be addressed if goods are going to flow back and forward unhindered. In the afternoon I had a meeting with the Minister of State for disabled people Sarah Newton. I updated her on four universal credit cases that my office are dealing with as they represent a cross section of typical cases. I attended the debate on Unpaid Work Trials brought forward by my SNP colleague Stewart M McDonald MP. And finished the day with an internal group meeting to keep us updated with all things Brexit. 


A second meeting of the Transport Select Committee was another private session. We took evidence from representatives of air traffic controllers, pilots and senior management from Gatwick and Heathrow about drones. This was prompted by the closure of Gatwick due to drones. It was an extremely informative session from experts in their field. I caught most of Prime Minister’s Question Time. It was the day of the deputies as the Prime Minister was otherwise engaged desperately seeking anyone that would back her Brexit deal. I had a meeting with the Secretary of State for Culture, Jeremy Wright MP and Minister for Sport and Civic Society, Mims Davies MP. The topic of conversation was gambling related harm. I am pressing them for a range of changes including advertising regulations, funding and the proliferation of ‘loot boxes’. As once again business collapsed early I caught an evening flight home. 


Great start to the day with a cycle to work and meeting with the Inverclyde Bothy and Halfords to promote cycling in Inverclyde. Swift peddle back to my office for a range of meetings with constituents and organisations. In the evening I attended the community council meeting for Inverkip and Wemyss Bay. Amongst a range of issues discussed the biggest concerns were the proposed 650 houses on the old power station site and the state of the A78.  


I had a meeting with constituents to discuss employment issues. I then had one of my regular meetings with Police Scotland to review my and my team’s security. A quick catch up with Tommy ‘the clown’ Armstrong was followed by a meeting with River Clyde Homes management for an update and constituent cases. I ended the week with a meeting with Scottish Power to discuss their plans for the Inverkip Power Station site. We can do so much more with that site than just houses.