Westminster diary w/b 27th January


I am on the rota at Westminster so I catch the breakfast flight. I am in the House bobbing for questions as the ridiculous protocol demands. I didn’t get taken for written questions, so I bob again for topical and I didn’t get taken, so I bob again during the Urgent Question on the 5G network and role of Huawei in it. I finally get taken after one and three quarter hours of standing up and sitting down. Good for the abdomen muscles but infuriating at the same time. I asked the minister of he could offer a 100% guarantee that the digital network would not be compromised if Huawei were offered a future contract. He couldn’t. I sat in for the start of the debate of facial recognition software. The day ended with the adjournment debate brought forward by Patricia Gibson MP (Ayrshire and Arran) on the Claim of Rights. Despite it being about the sovereign right of the people of Scotland determining Scotland’s future the Tory benches spent the entire timing talking down Scotland.


I was taken for a question during the statement on 5G telecommunications. I can’t believe the UK Government can classify Huawei as a ‘high risk’ vendor and still include them in the 5G infrastructure build. To describe their input as on the periphery is to completely misunderstand the architecture of a 5G system. The UK Government is playing with fire and compromising the integrity of the UKs digital network.


I had a question at Prime Minister’s Questions which as is now becoming the norm was restricted to 30 minutes. I got in and asked about the damage the UKs immigration policy will do to the care sector in Scotland. The Prime Minister answered something about seasonal workers. I met with Link to discuss the provision of ATMs that don’t charge for withdrawals in Inverclyde. And I met with members of gambling anonymous to hear their lived experience of gambling addiction.


I caught the 6:30am train from Fort Matilda to Edinburgh to attend the 10th annual infrastructure conference. This year’s topic was Delivering Scotland’s New Infrastructure and Increased Capital Investment. It was more interesting than it sounds. The Infrastructure Commission is working on a 30 year plan for Scotland and published its first report recently. I then hot footed it to the Scottish Parliament and attended a debate in the chamber on Drugs and Alcohol. A lot of common sense was spoken from all parties. Now we need the powers and the budget to implement the support and education required. I got home in time to attend a tenants meeting to hear about concerns over housing issues.


I had a meeting with Valerie Campbell, Lead Community Link Worker to discuss the community link work project in Inverclyde. In the afternoon I had a meeting with Kenny Lang, Environmental Services Manager, Inverclyde Council regarding reforestation and tree planting.