Westminster diary w/b 17th June


I attended the Inverclyde Alliance ‘Every Child Every Chance’ event in Port Glasgow Town Hall. The focus was tackling child poverty. There were excellent speeches and it was good to see councillors from Labour, Conservative, SNP and Independent all in attendance. In the afternoon I was in Edinburgh at the Gambling Commission launch of its National Strategy. I have issues with the Gambling Commissions funding model but this report is a good one and it recognises the need for a statutory levy on the gambling industry. Making it statutory allows the providers of support for gambling related harm, along with those developing education, to make long term plans. I am increasingly using trains to travel and once again I managed to leave Edinburgh and be in my flat in Greenock in two hours.


Today was a day reserved for constituency work. I also carried out street surgeries in the area.


With the increasingly debilitating Brexit process now being compounded by the Conservative and Unionist Party leadership race, I am attempting to squeeze meaningful work into fewer days at Westminster. With that in mind I left at 5:30am for the 6:30am flight. In amongst a plethora of meetings I also had a question to the Secretary of State for Scotland and asked if he agreed with the Duchy of Lancaster when he said that a review of the intergovernmental process could wait until the end of the year. He neither confirmed nor denied it. The Prime Minister is looking better now that she has an escape route for herself planned and was skating through PMQs until Ian Blackford called out Boris Johnson as a racist. When the predictable outcry came from the Government benches, Ian doubled down and listed the racist remarks that had been made. Confronted with that information it is impossible to defend Boris but his Conservative colleagues tried. After the dog fight that is PMQs I was pleased to support some more placid canine friends. I hosted a room to help support guide dogs for the blind. I took the opportunity to meet with owners of the working dogs and puppies in training. My last event was a roundtable discussion and podcast hosted by UK LEAP and Anyone’s Child. The focus of the discussion was the progress of the drug policy reform lobby and the path forward. My journey home did not go well as there was major disruption on the tube and my flight was delayed. To cap it all the M8 was shut and I had a detour via Bishopton. I got home at 23:15. I look upon it all as experienced living for my role on the transport select committee!


The morning was spent catching up with case work and in the afternoon, I did the Inverclyde Bothy Walk. Active travel is becoming more and more mainstream and designing transport systems that can integrate safe walking and cycling are important for our health and our planet.


I joined the teams from Inverclyde Bothy in Gourock railway station and Community Tracks for a cycle through Inverclyde. The purpose was to review the proposals for the route being supported by Sustrans. Looking at pinch points and obstacles. In the afternoon I caught up with Craig Berry of the Common Weal. I often reach out to academics and think tanks for a non-partisan take on issues and I have also contributed to the Common Weal over the years. In the evening I attended the Kilmacolm Civic Trust 50th Anniversary celebration at Windyhill, the Charles Rennie McIntosh house. On Saturday, I shall be supporting the Wemyss Bay Train station open day and on Sunday I shall be attending some of the ‘Great Get Together’ events around Inverclyde.