Campaign to Support Alfie Dingley

The UK government stance is that they do not acknowledge the therapeutic value of cannabis and yet the UK is the biggest producer and exporter of legal cannabis for medical and scientific use, in the world.

It has been proven that using medical cannabis can be more effective and drastically cheaper than the current prescription drugs. As the acceptance and use spreads across the world ,it is time the UK government changed the law. Granting exemptions one at a time to the most high profile cases will not satisfy the need.

Thousands of people across the UK with a range of conditions could benefit from medical cannabis and it is time the UK government acknowledged that and acted accordingly.



Gambling Commission Recommendation on FOBTs

I’m deeply disappointed with the Gambling Commissions in their recommendation on the maximum unit stake on FOBTs of £30 or below.  This gives the Government lots of wiggle room to set a level above the £2 stake which I and many of my colleagues have been calling for.

With the bookmakers intensifying their lobbying efforts, there is an even greater need for supporters of a £2 stake to increase pressure on the Government to take the decisive action that is needed to dramatically reduce the stake on these harmful machines.

It’s now up to Matt Hancock to acknowledge the damage these machines do and have the courage to cut the maximum stake to £2.  It’s time the Government got serious on gambling related harm.

Prime Minister’s Question Time

As people are aware, Prime Minister’s Question Time is the main focal point of the weekly parliamentary business in the House of Commons. 

It’s an ideal opportunity for people to watch parliamentary proceedings and see questions being put to the Prime Minister from across the chamber.

My automatic allocation of two tickets for Prime Minister’s Question Time falls on both Wednesday 18th April and Wednesday 11th July and if any Inverclyde constituents are in London and would like to attend then please contact my office.  The tickets will be allocated on a first come first serves basis.


World Kidney Day 2018

I welcome World Kidney Day 2018 and this year’s theme of Kidneys & Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower.  As vice-chair of the parliamentary group I am happy to both promote and raise the profile of the importance of our kidneys.

The Scottish Government is to legislate for an opt-out scheme for organ donation which I welcome.

I would encourage people to consider adding their name to the Organ Donation register.

For more information please visit –

Organ Donation Scotland website –


Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – Loss Calculator Launched

New Fixed Odds Betting Terminals loss calculator launched by the FOBT APPG shows the extent of losses on FOBTs with £57 lost every second and £3,424 lost every minute by gamblers.

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group has today launched a loss calculator on its website

This calculator shows the money that gamblers are losing each day on FOBT machines and the total amount lost on FOBT machines since the end of the Government’s consultation on gaming machines which closed on 23 January 2018. Every day that the Government delay making a decision on FOBTs the losses mount up by £5m. This money is also often lost by those who can least afford it.

The total amount of money being lost by gamblers on FOBTs is:

  • £57.09 a second
  • £3,424 a minute
  • £205,500.000 an hour
  • £5m a day
  • £34.6m a week
  • £150m a month and
  • £1.8bn a year

This money which is being lost by gamblers and paid to betting companies could pay for the following each year:

  • 77,646 nurses
  • 58,250 police officers
  • 63,988 secondary school teachers
  • 61,339 fireman

Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the FOBT APPG said:

“The FOBT loss calculator shows the amount of money being lost by gamblers every second of every day, often by those who can least afford it. Every day that the Government delays making a decision on the FOBT stake, the amount of money lost grows by £5m. This is unacceptable.”

“The Government must not delay any longer. The stake on FOBTs must be reduced immediately to £2 to prevent further harm to the most vulnerable in our society.”

Ronnie Cowan MP, the Vice Chair of the FOBT APPG said:

“I very much welcome this calculator which shows the magnitude of the losses that are happening as a result of FOBTs. As the Secretary of State himself has said, FOBTs are a ‘social blight’ on all our communities and the Government must reduce the stake to £2 with immediate effect.”

Notes to Editors

  • The loss calculator is calculated using Gambling Commission figures from April 2014 to March 2017 and based on Licensed Betting Shop opening hours of 12 hours per day Monday to Saturday and 7 hours per day on a Sunday
  • The FOBT APPG has undertaken two inquiries into FOBTs and written to the Prime Minster imploring her to act on these machines.
  • Further information on the FOBT APPG can be found at

Tougher Action on Gambling Advertising

I welcome the commitment from the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) on tougher standards on gambling advertising.

These stricter regulations are very welcome and something I have been campaigning to see happen – now we need to maintain the pressure on the UK government on the wider issue of Fixed Odd Betting Terminals.

The increasing normalisation and visibility of gambling adverts should be thoroughly scrutinised, so the decision to target advertisements which appeal to problem gamblers and promote free bets and bonuses  – is clearly a step in the right direction. This will hopefully help reduce the acceptance and normalisation of this kind of gambling, while also helping those suffering with gambling related harm.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) have already indicated they will respond and live up to the commitments – as set out in the UK Government’s recent consultation – on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.

I urge the UK Government now to get on with announcing their proposals on reducing the maximum unit stake on FOBTs and other measures to address gambling related harm.

Women’s Suffrage

The Representation of the People Act 1918 was a vital step towards the rights women have today, and the centenary of the Act is an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come, thanks to the extreme bravery and sacrifice of the women who fought – and in some cases died – for equality.

In Scotland, the Scottish Government are committed to equality and have a gender-balanced cabinet, whilst also legislating for gender balance on public sector boards.

Whether it’s chatting about the issues over a cup of tea, or engaging with one of the many exciting events as part of this year’s UK Parliament Week, there are countless opportunities for schools and community groups across Inverclyde to get involved in this key anniversary.

We all know that there is still more to do, and I look forward to working with people across Inverclyde to ensure we create an even more equal society.


World Cancer Day

I was pleased to have the opportunity to host Cancer Research UK at Parliament in recognition of World Cancer Day.

Cancer is Scotland’s biggest killer and here in Inverclyde there are around 6,800 cancer cases per year.  However, cancer death rates in Scotland have fallen by a fifth over the last twenty years.

I hope people will continue to support charities such as Cancer Research UK in their work to save lives.

Child Poverty in Inverclyde

It’s deeply disheartening to learn that over 25% of children in Inverclyde are living in poverty.  As Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said, there can be little doubt the UK Government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis. 

The Tory Government’s continued obsession with a policy of austerity and cutting the welfare budget is only serving to punish the most vulnerable people in society, including children.  

This contrasts with the Scottish Government who are taking action to address child poverty through a number of schemes such as providing free school meals, introducing the baby box and increasing the number of childcare hours available.   

Alongside this, the £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund is an initiative focused on supporting pupils from the local authorities of Scotland with the highest concentration of deprivation, including Inverclyde.

The Child Poverty Strategy sets out what the Scottish Government will do to reduce the levels of child poverty in Scotland, and to ensure that as few children as possible experience any type of socio-economic disadvantage.

There is only so much the Scottish Government can do to mitigate Westminster’s blinkered approach. It is time the Tories dropped their ideological approach and instead developed evidenced based policies. Until they do, the most vulnerable in our society will endure the most hardship.”


Macmillan Cancer – Duty of care

Ensuring people have access to the right help and advice as soon as possible is essential in stopping financial problems escalating.  It is well known that being diagnosed with a health condition, such as cancer, can come with a huge and sudden financial impact. 

Research by Macmillan Cancer Support found that 4 out of 5 people with cancer are impacted financially by their diagnosis, being, on average, £570 a month worse off as a result.

If financial service providers had a legal duty of care towards their customers, it would give people confidence to disclose their diagnosis, knowing that they could trust their bank to act in their best interests.

I have now written to HM Treasury to urge the Government to look closely at this issue and ensure the Financial Conduct Authority bring forward their discussion paper before Brexit and begin the process now of ensuring financial providers provide a duty of care to customers who are suffering with cancer.

Hansard link to speech –