Westminster diary w/b 22nd July


Down to London to witness the last few days of Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister. Security around the estate has increased and temperatures are soaring as London experiences a heatwave. It’s going to be an uncomfortable week in many ways. I recorded radio interviews on the topic of overdose prevention centres for Global Radio.


The select committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs took evidence from the Electoral Commission as part of our ongoing inquiry into electoral law. We also discussed our future programme and I am hopeful that Citizens Assemblies will be considered. I know committee members have very different views on this subject and that usually results in a robust inquiry and a balanced report. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia met with representatives of the Catalonian independence movement. I only mention that as I have kept all my contact with them in the public domain. On such occasions I am usually followed and photographed by somebody from the Spanish authorities. I have no idea why they would do such a thing but recently disclosed papers have contained my name and photographs of me at events. The big news of the day was that Boris Johnson was the new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.


Questions to the outgoing Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, was a lively prelude to the big show later that day. Mr Mundell swore his allegiance to the incoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. It was a futile attempt to hang onto his job and everyone could see that. Prime Ministers Questions was mobbed. For the first time in months the Conservative and Unionist benches were full to overflowing. They came to bury Theresa not to praise her. They had no shame as they applauded her out of the chamber. The same people that plotted and planned to remove her from office, stood and clapped as she went. The hypocrisy and shallowness of politics really comes to the fore on such occasions. The day then became a feeding frenzy for political hacks predicting and reporting on the coming and going of cabinet members and advisers. To say that thing went from bad to worse would be the understatement of the year. I escaped the madness on the 20:35 out of London.


The relative calm and, as always, abundant grounded common sense of my constituency office was a welcome oasis of sensibility this morning. In the afternoon I had a couple of meetings in Glasgow including one with Derek Mackay, Finance Secretary of Scotland. The latter meeting involved representatives from the Scottish Government, trade unions and local elected members. The topic of discussion was Ferguson Marine. It was heartening to hear the Scottish Governments commitment to safeguarding the jobs at the yards.


I had meeting with three local businesses covering a range of issues. Today is the first day of recess and so I shall be working out of my constituency office until parliament sits again on the 3rd of September. Recess affords me the opportunity for to catch up with local businesses, organisations and individuals and I look forward to taking that opportunity over the next few weeks.