Westminster diary w/b 18th April


Lucky for me I was on holiday today, so I used the time wisely and washed my windows. Life in the fast lane indeed.


Up at the crack of dawn and off to Westminster. Unusually I had a member of my team travel with me as we have discovered that getting satisfactory outcomes for Ukrainian refugee cases is proving much easier and faster if we can talk directly to the Home Office staff directly. We had six outstanding cases and managed to resolve five of them in one day.  I dropped in to the ‘access to cash’ event and I shall continue to press for cash to the penny for the many people who require on this facility. I visited the Maritime UK event and had an interesting discussion about the lower Clyde coast and all the opportunities that exist. In the Chamber we were debating the Global Migration Challenge. Immigration brings out the worst in the UK Government’s attitude and hiding behind this legislation is a pernicious vile attitude that seeks to persecute those fleeing from war torn countries.  The Prime Minister then made a two-minute half-hearted explanation of his actions when he broke the law and attended a party at 10 Downing Street. He quickly progressed to the crisis in Ukraine and shamelessly tried to tie himself into the narrative regarding the bravery of the Ukrainian resistance. It was a sickening display of politicking totally devoid of any sense of humility.


My select committee took evidence from Lord Bew in his capacity as Chair of the House of Lords Appointment Commission. The session focused mostly on the appointment of Lord Lebedev whom after being placed in the Lords donated half a million pounds to the Conservative and Unionist Party.  I took the opportunity to drop in and support the guide dogs who visit parliament every year and do such magnificent work. It’s always amusing to see hardnosed ruthless politicians gushing over the cutest of dogs and desperate for their attention.  Maybe we are human after all. I was the SNP spokesperson for a debate in Westminster Hall on Tackling Drug Crime in Local Communities. There I still a tendency to think we can arrest our way out of a health crisis but that hasn’t worked for fifty years. The debate was interrupted by votes in the House of Commons, but they were just a prelude to the voting fiasco at the end of the day when during eleven votes the telling machines broke down one by one until we were reduced to using paper and pen which slows down the whole process. For those that follow such things I didn’t vote in the first vote as I was acting as a teller. I counted 311 people voting against the outcome I wanted. Sometimes this job can be cruel.


The main event was a debate to hold the Prime Minister to account for lying to and misleading Parliament. A number of Conservatives feel so angry at the behaviour of the Prime Minister that they have called for him to resign and would have voted for the motion of contempt but in the end, they didn’t contest the motion and so there was no division and therefore no vote. This allowed me to make a quick sprint to the airport and make it home by quarter past eight.


In the morning, I welcomed the First Minister to the Beacon Arts Centre as part of the local council campaign. In the afternoon I had a meeting with Liberty Charge. They own Virgin Media and we discussed electronic charging points powered by their broadband network. And I spoke with the local sea cadets to get a better understanding of the issues they are experiencing regarding a suitable location for their requirements.