Westminster diary wb 20th May


The All Party Parliamentary Group ( APPG ) on commercial sexual exploitation had a meeting to discuss what we can do to amend the Online Safety Bill after it comes back from the House of Lords. It is a harrowing subject matter but it’s an opportunity to make the right changes. The APPG shall be reaching out to all parties to help members understand the size and significance of the problem. 


Today was the SNP opposition debate day. We chose to debate the cost of living and Brexit, so often when people talk about the cost of living crisis they acknowledge the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Covid but Brexit seems to have been dismissed. We then debated the disgraceful attack on the right to free speech which is the Public Order Act. I met with Transform Drugs Policy to get a briefing on Psilocybin. The APPG on gambling related harm met to discuss our approach to the recently published white paper on gambling. Earlier I sat in on the select committee hearing on this and was deeply disappointed by the majority of it. I summed up in a Westminster Hall debate on corporate profit or more accurately corporate greed. 


It was up to the party deputies to cross examine the U.K. government at PMQs. Angela Rayner as deputy leader of the Labour Party has, in the past, been very strong at this but not today when she waffled on and on which simply allows the baying mobs of the U.K. government benches to shout over her and then the whole thing descends into chaos. Mhairi Black kept it short and made her points. The deputy Prime Minister’s contempt for Scotland is already well known and his manner at PMQs emphasised that. I had a zoom meeting with Giulia Spilotros from the Green Network to get an update on the peatland reclamation programme in Inverclyde. Late afternoon I had a meeting with Chris Philp MP, minister for policing, along with industry experts to discuss the problems with the licensing of hemp. It was a constructive meeting. 


My select committee met and we took evidence from senior civil servants on the survey of 360,000 civil servants and the way they publish the data. I spoke in the House of Commons on a motion to reschedule psilocybin. It was brought forward by myself, Crispin Blunt MP and Charlotte Nichols MP. Despite it having that level of CEOs party support the government response was poor. 


I worked in my office all day and caught up with the local police to cover a range of local issues. On Saturday I shall be attending the Scottish Families affected by alcohol and drugs 20th birthday party at the Beacon.