Westminster diary w/b 16th May


Early start at 6:00 and it is almost like covid never happened as we all crush onto the London underground. I had an interview with Danielle Theis for her dissertation on drugs deaths. Daniella will be a welcome addition to the Greenock Telegraph staff. Bobbing away in the Chamber for questions to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up.  But the UK government were not bobbing for supplementary questions which means the Speaker can’t go back and forth across the house as he has to. Therefore, opposition MPs who are bobbing can’t get to ask their questions. Extremely infuriating and hopefully not a tactic they are deploying. I had time to write my speech for the Chamber in the evening before the debate started at 16:30. After three and a half hours of bobbing I got five minutes to talk at 20:00. Pity as I had ten minutes written! I focused on the lack of detail in the Queen’s speech regarding poverty and deprivation. We cannot provide equal opportunities and a stimulating environment throughout life, in order to enable people to live truly fulfilling lives, while we continue to have such high levels of poverty, and insecurity. And while we continue to support a society where greed is good and poverty is rife. I grabbed some food and was back in the Chamber at 21:30 for the front bench speeches. I got to my hotel at 22:30 


A warm day in London and my first meeting is with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs (PACAC) Select Committee. We continue to take evidence around the Propriety of Governance in Light of Greensill. Our witness was the Right Honourable Peter Riddell CBE in his capacity as the previous Commissioner for Public Appointments. Along with Kat Banyard from Feminista, I met with Rachel McLean (Safeguarding Minister) regarding online pornographers.  I am seeking an amendment to the online safety bill to enable people to have pornography removed from the internet if it features them and they either never gave consent or wish to withdraw it. I was scheduled to do an interview with the Hemp Community but technical difficulties at their end made that impossible. There was one vote at 19:00 on a possible windfall tax but we lost to the UK Government. 


Back in the Chamber for questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland. I bobbed on the back of a question on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. I fear Inverclyde is missing out because of de-population. Once again, I didn’t get in as nobody was bobbing on the other side! PMQs followed Scotland questions. It was a complete waste of time. This is a Prime Minister who neither cares nor knows why we have an austerity crisis. When faced with a question about a kidney dialysis patient that can’t afford to heat his house, the Prime Minister answered about Crossrail investment and boasted about his time as Mayor of London. I had a meeting on Basic Income. It is 80th anniversary of the Beveridge Report, Basic Income Conversation and Compass have published new research modelling a basic income that could reverse the poverty and inequality rises of the last 45 years at no net cost. The debate on the Queen’s speech continued throughout the day ending with X votes at 19:00. This meant I had to stay overnight in London and catch the red eye on Thursday.


Up with the sparrows and caught the 6:55 am flight to Glasgow. My first event in Inverclyde was a visit to Quarrier’s village at 10:00 am to see the work done there. It’s a magnificent location but facilitating care in a residential setting has moved on over the years since the village was founded in 1878 with the construction of two cottages and a central building which served as a school and church. I have been advertising for a new case worker in my parliamentary office and I carried out interviews for that position before attending the first meeting of the new Inverclyde council in the Town Hall.


Today was filled with interviews and a quick visit to Your Voice 30th anniversary at the Beacon Arts Centre.