Westminster diary wb 7th November


Constituency boundary changes.  Talk of the steamie or at least the Members tea-room and late into the evening conservative and unionist MPs were pouring over maps working out who would stay and who would go. I bobbed on the urgent question regarding immigration and was the last person taken from the opposition benches. I pressed the point that in-order to help local authorities accommodate asylum seekers the authorities need to be engaged with at an early stage to ensure that the support and finance is in place otherwise we risk fuelling the bigotry and intolerance that is already obvious from some of the Conservative and Unionist back benches.


I co-chaired a joint event between the Gambling Related Harm APPG and the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention APPG with Liz Twist MP. The panel consisted of Heather Wardle who is an academic at Glasgow University, Matt Gaskill who is a consultant psychologist and Annie Ashton whose husband completed suicide due to gambling related issues. They all spoke well and answered a range of questions from a very engaged audience. I met with the Portman group who are responsible for regulating alcohol advertising. As they are an industry funded body, I have my reservations, but they are light years ahead of the Gambling Commission. I had a briefing from Irish government about their basic income pilot that they are rolling out to artists and a artisans. The results will be very interesting. Next up was a meeting in the House of Lords to discuss the online safety bill, in particular regarding child pornography on the internet.

A day which covered, suicide, gambling harm, and child pornography could be seen as a day of despair but what I heard today from a range of organisations was their commitment to address these issues and create positive outcomes. It was a day of hope and positivity.


The Prime Minister’s Questions from the opposition benches were mostly questioning his judgment in appointing Gavin Williamson, who has since resigned and also the wisdom of appointing incumbent MPs to the House of Lords. It does beg the question how dedicated to their constituencies they are?


I started the day at West College Scotland talking to and doing a question and answer session with politics students. These are always invigorating and really enjoyable sessions. I had a remote meeting with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and minister responsible for gambling. It says a lot that gambling comes under the auspices of DCMS. I have been pushing the U.K. government to publish their white paper on gambling reform for over two years now and due to a number of circumstances this has not happened. Hopefully we will be spared a cabinet reshuffle until the ministers and civil servants involved can publish this paper. Then we shall know the government’s stance on gambling reforms and the debate can start. In the afternoon I met with the Tail of the Bank credit union to catch up with their new management and discuss their plans for the future.


I started the day with an update on Inverclyde Council budget proposals. And then I visited the Madeira Street site that is proposed for housing. In the afternoon I visited the Amazon fulfilment centre and finally I visited and chatted to 6 Foot Labs about their projects called The Hive and Designed Necessities. Another week covering a wide range of subject matters and engaging with people from all walks of life. That truly is one of the privileges of the job.

On this Remembrance Sunday, I shall be attending the church service in the Mid-Kirk and laying poppy wreaths at the Wellpark and the Cross of Lorraine on the Lyle Hill.