Westminster diary w/b 8th July


It’s going to be a long week at Westminster and its starts with my 5am alarm. Most of the day is taken up by meetings and briefings and the voting started at 5pm and lasted until 8pm wit a short break when a debate broke out.


I start the day with debate on Active Travel. It’s a Westminster Hall debate but better attended than the main chamber. This is becoming a feature at Westminster. I make the case for cycling and walking while stressing the need for government investment. I dropped in to the Scottish Select Affairs Select Committee to listen to Joe Fitzpatrick MSP give evidence on drugs policy. Joe is the Scottish Government minister with that responsibility. I have to leave early as I have a meeting along with Carolyn Harris (Labour MP for Swansea East) with Lord Michael Grade. He is chairing a Lords Committee on gambling related harm and we are sharing our evidence gathered from our All-party parliamentary group. I then catch up with Joe in my office to share our views and discuss policy reform.


The Transport Select Committee had a closed door review of our future programme and our impending meeting with the Secretary of State. That is followed by Prime Minister’s Questions. It is till notable for the sparse attendance of the government MPs and there sudden support for their Prime Minister now that they have forced her out. The All-party parliamentary group on gambling related harm took evidence from clinical experts and members of GamCare around the funding and provision of support for people with gambling addictions. I then spoke in another well attended Westminster hall debate. This one was on HS2. Ten billion pounds spent, ten years since it was first announced and not one mile of new track. It’s an infrastructure project that has gone massively wrong.


I have an 8:30 meeting with representatives of William Hill. While I am pursuing a mandatory levy on bookmakers and I am critical of some aspects of the gambling industry, I am always open to hear their views and their solutions in areas that we agree. This was followed by an internal trading course run with House of Commons staff. These courses are extremely well prepared and are part of on-going training to make sure that MPs are good employers and that we understand our role and the responsibility it brings. I finish the working day by talking in a debate in the main chamber on 20 years of devolution. It was a good debate but rather tainted by the usual suspects that make their speech and then feel the need to constantly intervene on others. This takes time away from the speakers at the end of the list. So for that reason I refused all interventions.


A beautiful sunny day in inverclyde and I took advantage of that by holding street surgeries and distributing contact details to households.