Westminster diary w/b 13th January 2020

Monday

There is no pressure to be at Westminster so in keeping with my new year’s resolution I take the opportunity to stay in the constituency. The day easily and fruitfully consumed by constituency matters.

Tuesday

It’s a 5am start but luckily storm Brendan hasn’t affected travel arrangements so I am in my Westminster office by 9:30. Its straight to a meeting of the SNP finance and economy team and then I meet up with representatives of UK Finance to discuss the growing trend to charge for ATMs . We discuss the situation in Inverclyde and are seeking to see if we can benefit from the Community Access to Cash Initiative. As part of my continuing work relating to gambling related harm, I meet with the father of a boy who managed to rack up massive debts and was potentially suicidal. It is those lived experiences that fuel the passion in the All-Party Parliamentary Group to reduce the harm and make the gambling industry accountable. I had a catch up with End Our Pain and we swapped experiences regarding the provision of medical cannabis. Neither of us had good stories. The battle goes on. I finish the day by meeting up with Txell Bonnet, partner of Jordi Cuixart, President of Omnium Cultural who is serving nine years in jail for his connection with the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. The APPG for Catalonia has party support from the SNP, Labour and Conservatives.

Wednesday

I head in the opposite direction from Westminster and walk through the very upmarket Belgravia to the Caledonian Club. It’s an open forum to discuss the next steps for online gambling regulation in the UK. Amongst a wide range of topics, we discuss, advertising and protecting vulnerable groups. A quick walk back to Parliament means I am back in time for Prime Minister’s Questions. The new Speaker, Lindsey Hoyle, is being very strict on the time allocation for this weekly event. Hopefully, it will lead to it being less of a pantomime. Immediately after PMQs I am hosting an event on drugs policy reform. Three experts from the field brief a number of SNP MPs on all the latest outcomes and that allows us to plan future strategy while becoming better informed.

Thursday

Business is slow but the threat of votes keeps me tied to the estate. I take the opportunity to catch up on the mountain of correspondence that continually threatens to overwhelm me. The chairs for the select committee process is ongoing which makes me very popular amongst fellow MPs as they seek my vote. I hide away in my office. People bothering you to vote for them! Imagine that. I catch the 19:45 flight and I am home at 22:00.

Friday

I have a meeting with residents of Ogilvie Homes followed by a discussion with Inverclyde Leisure regarding the plans for Whinhill Golf Course. Members have previously made representations to me. In the afternoon, I have a meeting with Crown Care. I take my turn to staff the office while member’s of my team attend training courses. I finish the week with constituency meetings.

Westminster diary w/b 6th January 2020

Monday

I spent today in my constituency office catching up on correspondence and along with my office team, planning the best practice to handle our work load for the next five years. We aim to use the experience we have gained since 2015 to provide even better care and support for all constituents of Inverclyde.

Tuesday

Extreme weather warnings are not what you want to waken up to at 6am when you are set to travel to London. But apart from it still being dark at 8:30am there was no signs of any storms and my journey is unaffected by the weather. The storm clouds are only metaphorical and are gathering over Westminster. Even when he was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson’s grasp of foreign affairs was famously tenuous and now with President Trump at his fully belligerent ill thought out worst, we need leaders that have the gravitas and diplomatic skills of articulate considered adults to manage the situation that is brewing in the middle east. But we have Johnson and Trump! What could possibly go wrong? The morning is taken up with catch up meetings following recess. Treasury questions are a sickening display of self-congratulations from a Tory government whose self-belief is clearly not kept in check by any obvious self-awareness. There is a statement on the middle east. Too often when we speak of diplomacy it is bracketed with pressure. Diplomatic pressure is not diplomatic negotiations. What can I do to you is not the same as what can I do for you? It was good to hear the Secretary of State, Ben Wallace MP, say that the best people to run Iran are the people of Iran. The day ended at 9pm with three new clauses to the European Union Withdrawal Agreement all being defeated by the Government.

Wednesday

The deputy speaker elections are ongoing. It strikes me that MPs lobbying MPs from other parties to vote for them can be a particularly obsequious process. Out of nowhere they all have a burning desire to tell me about their Scottish ancestry and love for the old country. Jog on. Scottish questions was an exercise in sycophancy for Scottish Conservatives aided and abetted by the one Labour MP with a Scottish seat. Instead of representing Scotland they continually talk it down, undermining their own nation in order to prop up their own careers. Off campus, I had an interesting meeting with Baroness Blackwood (Parliamentary under Secretary of State for life science). The discussion was about the provision of medical cannabis under prescription on the NHS. We agreed on most of the requirements that were still to be met and within her role she is moving the discussion and provision of a solution forward. We got into this mess because of the Home Ooffice’s lack of understanding and reluctance to change. Hopefully, now that it is a health issue, progress will be quicker.

Thursday

There was an Urgent Question on the new deal between the English FA and the gambling industry that requires people to register with a bookmaker before they can watch FA cup matches. I bobbed for a question and as I am the vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm I was taken quite early. The current deal with the FA will lead to vulnerable gamblers being hounded by the gambling industry. I implored the minister to create a new gambling act and to coordinate with people with lived experience of gambling related harm during its creation.

Friday

I visited Jericho House to talk to people taking part in the recovery programme. I had a site visit of Diodes Incorporated followed by a quick photo opportunity with the Tele for a story about broadband. I squeezed in the Watt Talk at the Watt Institution. And I visited the jobcentre to catch up with staff there. On Saturday I shall be attending the Scouts Awards Evening in the Town Hall.

Westminster diary w/b 16th December

Monday

Normal business has been resumed and I spend the morning in my constituency office before catching the midday flight to London. Most of the business of the day is procedural and I accompany some new Members round their induction. With the winter recess due to start we want everyone up to speed, sworn in and settled in their office before we break. Interspersed between the formal meetings there is a lot of catching up to do. And as contrary to rumours MPs are human there is a lot of comparing majorities and boasting of campaign successes. In the evening there is a social event to help new members get to know returning Members. It is not a late night as most people are still exhausted by their campaigns.

Tuesday

We go through the performance of electing the Speaker but as Lindsay Hoyle was elevated to that position two days before we broke for the general election it is just a formality. The longest serving members take their oath throughout the day. My office is up and running and new casework is starting to come in. Nothing has changed and Universal Credit continues to create problems for many. There is a lull in the number of Members being sworn in at around 8pm so I grab the opportunity and take the affirmation.

Wednesday

No business in the chamber today so it’s a day of catching up on a rapidly increasing flood of emails. The invitations to attend and host events has resumed, and my head has to make the journey from campaigning to keep my job to actually doing my job. Diary management is difficult at this time of year and compounded by the stop start nature of the UK parliament over the last six months. There will be no clear routine until the new year. In the mean-time rooms and events are booked somewhat speculatively.

Thursday.

The Queen’s speech is the first event of the day and the streets outside Parliament are parked up with large black cars identifiable by their diplomatic plates along with official embassy transport. Chauffeurs and bodyguards stand on the pavement looking rather uneasy. The police presence is highly visible and armed guards are to the fore. The real action was on the front benches as for some reason known only to them the Labour party decided to sit in SNP seats. It was all resolved when the Labour hierarchy told them to scoot. Normal service, or as normal as anything at Westminster, was resumed. After the usual pomp and circumstances of the State Opening we finally got down to debating.

Friday

A full day of debates on the Queen’s speech. The speech covers a wide range of topics from armed forces and climate change, to business rates and domestic abuse. The danger is that not enough time is given to these and that this Conservative and Unionist government railroad through change. I caught the 18:00 flight home. I shall be in my constituency until January the sixth. My office is open on the 23rd, 27th and 30th of December and the 3rd of January 2020.

Westminster diary w/b 21st October

Monday

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs select committee (PACAC) took evidence from the Minister for the Constitution, Kevin Stewart MP. It was mostly around voter identification, the regulation of spending and the use of social media. I am not convinced about the need for voter identification cards in case they are a barrier to people voting. Regulation gets trashed on a regular basis and fines don’t solve it. And social media is miles ahead of the legislation required to make it safe and legal. The Minister didn’t address any of these facts. The APPG on Catalonia heard from their Foreign Affairs minister, Alfred Bosch. His plea was simple. In these turbulent times the Catalan government want to sit down and talk. That is the only way to resolve the issues. He urged us to use all the diplomatic channels that we can. In the Chamber the UK Government were attempting to rerun the debate they had and lost on Saturday. The speaker schooled them on parliamentary process pointing out that the avenue they were pursuing, that of significant change in circumstances, was not appropriate as they had applied for the debate 21 minutes after the last one ended and nothing significant had happened in that time. I sat in a delegated committee on gas tariffs. It was not controversial and passed unopposed.

Tuesday

Not content with one session a week, PACAC met to take evidence from expert witnesses on the role of the speaker. I should have been forewarned that it was going to be a long session when I read the brief which started ‘by the civil war period’. As it turned out it lasted just over three hours but was hugely entertaining and informative. I met with representatives of Health Poverty Action to update them on drugs policy and see how we can work together to improve the current policies. I was in the chamber for the Prime Minister’s speech on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. I get the feeling that he is light on detail and heavy on promises. I met with Digital Scotland to discuss broadband rollout in Inverclyde and the R100 programme which aims to provide 100% access to superfast broadband by 2021. The evening was scheduled to run until 22:30 but the votes at 19:00 did not go the way the UK Government wanted. The Prime Minister had wanted to railroad ahead with plans to implement legislation that will drag Scotland out of the EU, and inflict lasting harm on its economy, small and large businesses, public services, and people’s livelihoods, all the SNP MPs voted against this. The UK Government then paused the bill!

Wednesday

I met with Amazon to discuss the future of the plant in Inverclyde and working conditions for employees. I was on the order paper for Prime Minister’s Questions and took great consideration composing my question. They don’t come along often, and I didn’t want to squander it. The government have stock answers to many questions, and I wanted to avoid those. I asked about the availability and funding of medical cannabis. It’s an issue that this Prime Minister has been more open to than his predecessor. He responded to me by saying “I will take it up personally with him” and that is an offer I shall certainly accept. I met up with a representative of Virgin Media to discuss the continued quest to roll out the best possible local service and representatives of NoteMachine, the second largest ATM provider in the UK. We discussed the increasing policy of charging for the use of ATMs.

Thursday

I had an interview with the author J.S. Rafaeli. He is researching drug policy reform for an article for vice.com which says its remit is ‘original reporting on everything that matters’. I then spoke with the Royal Mail. They highlighted the dramatic increase in parcel delivery, which fitted in well with my discussions with Amazon on Wednesday. The Queen’s speech went through and a statement was made that a General Election will be voted on next Monday. The Tory plan is to push through a bad deal with minimum scrutiny. We aren’t falling for it.

Friday

In the morning I had meetings with constituents and in the afternoon, I met with Financial Fitness and visited Belville gardens to catch up with the Our Place Our Future Roadshow. In between I met up with the Greenock Telegraph to highlight my appeal to retailers to stop selling Fireworks to the public.

 

Westminster diary w/b 14th October

Monday

The State Opening of parliament is the opportunity for the UK government to lay out their plans for the coming session. It is a grandiose ceremony of pomp and circumstance. The Queen sends Black Rod to summon us commoners up to the Lords but we shut the door on Black Rod and pretend not to let her in. But then we do. We always do. Then we go to the Lords and the Queen sitting on a gold throne in the House of Lords reads a speech given to her by the Prime Minister. I should say that is after the cellars have been searched by the Yeoman of the Guard and a hostage has been taken and held in case we try and keep the Queen. The Queen’s speech is then debated on over a few days and practically nobody attends. If you think that’s strange the week was just beginning. I joined protestors outside the Spanish Embassy in a show of solidarity for the yellow ribbon campaign to highlight the imprisonment of political prisoners.

Tuesday

There is an urgent question on the prison sentences handed down by the Spanish Supreme Court to the nine political prisoners. Some people may feel this is not an issue that should concern elected members of the UK parliament, but it is sufficiently relevant for the speaker to grant the question. Many people condemn the sentences as an affront to democracy but the Minister responding on behalf of the government doesn’t get it. I quoted Dr Martin Luther King when he said ‘our lives begin to end the day we stay silent about things that matter’. I then met up with a delegation of Kenyan parliamentarians who have grave concerns about UK owned gambling companies that are targeting a new vulnerable market place in Kenya. We shall be monitoring this situation closely. I had a meeting with the Chief Executive of Scottish Power Energy Network and we discussed electric vehicles and the infrastructure required to support them.

Wednesday

It’s my turn to speak on the Queen’s speech and I question the Minister on closures of coastguard centres and job centres in Inverclyde along with the government’s reluctance to support medical cannabis and drug consumption rooms. For a six-minute speech I had to be in attendance for the best part of six hours. It’s nonsense just utter nonsense. We are supposed to be using our time wisely to work towards a constructive outcome regarding Brexit and instead we are going through the motions.

Thursday

I start the day on College Green giving an interview to the Spanish TV station Antena 3. They have grave concerns over the image that Spain is portraying across the globe regarding the political prisoners and the violence we are seeing from the National Police against peaceful protestors. Rumours around deals with the European Union are in abundance and change by the hour. When we finally get to read what has been offered it has changed very little from what has already been voted down. This time however a deal has been done to keep Northern Ireland in the single market, with a few caveats. The DUP are refusing to back it and it will now be debated and voted on Saturday. The UK Parliament has only sat three times on a Saturday, once during game the Second World War, once during the Suez crisis and again during the Falklands War. Brexit will be the fourth time. That’s how big the mess is. I grab a flight home.

Friday

I catch an early train to Edinburgh as I am speaking at the 5th LEAHN (Law Enforcement and HIV Network) consultation on police, drugs and harm reduction. It’s a privilege to be asked to speak along with the experts in this field. We shall only address the issue of problematic drug use when politicians listen to the experts from academia, recovery and lived experience. I catch a tea time flight from Edinburgh back to London. On Saturday we shall debate on the deal and the amendments. Who knows where that shall take us?

Westminster diary w/b 30th September

Monday

Today I caught up with representatives of Link Housing to discuss the ongoing issue over the construction of houses on the old Ravenscraig site. There has been a lot of speculation and further clarification is being sought regarding the condition of the land before any housing is constructed. As I was flying into London at 19:15 it was already pitch black and I could not help but thinking that this could be the start of a long dark winter of discontent.

Tuesday

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee held a closed door meeting to discuss our pending reports and future programme. Trying to develop a future programme in these times is like trying to nail a blancmange to a wall. I attended a meeting of elected members where we had an extremely intense conversation and grave concerns were expressed around Brexit possibilities. It was played out to a suitable backdrop of thunder, lightning and rain thrashing against the windows of a wood panelled room within a faux gothic stone crumbling building. It felt very much like the 31st of October had arrived and Halloween was already upon us. I attended an urgent question on the situation in the Yemen. The UK Government still can’t acknowledge that the UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia Makes us culpable in the destruction and heartache we are witnessing.

Wednesday

PMQ was a knock about affair with Dominic Raab and Dianne Abbott filling the roles of Punch and Judy. The Prime Minister obviously believes it is more important to attend the Conservative and Unionist party conference than attend the House of Commons and be held to account for the shambolic process that is damaging and will continue to damage Scotland as we are pulled out of the EU against the wishes of the Scottish electorate. It was good to hear the father of the house (Ken Clark) chastise the Prime Minister and his unwillingness to work with the UK Parliament. I intervened in the domestic abuse bill to highlight the need to explicitly include sexual abuse in the bill so victims can receive the help and support required. Business was collapsing early and so I grabbed the 17:05 flight home.

Thursday

I started with constituency work in my office and then attended the extremely busy jobs fair in the town hall. It was good to see Diode Incorporated represented and hear how things are progressing since they bought Texas Instruments. Tens of millions of pounds have been invested and more people are being recruited. Most of the afternoon was taken up by constituency cases including housing, welfare, travel and health issues.

Friday

In the morning I had meetings with council officers and Network rail. The afternoon consisted of surgeries in Greenock and Kilmacolm.

Westminster diary w/b 9th September

Monday

Up at the crack of dawn to catch a red eye to London. A British Airways pilots’ strike was causing a deal of disruption but thankfully my flight was unaffected as I needed to be on the estate early. It’s another day of making history at Westminster. In truth every day at Westminster seems to be a day when uncharted waters are being negotiated but this one turned out be a cracker. Prior to the chamber sitting at 14:30 I have an internal SNP MP briefing meeting. An event that used to take place once a week is becoming more like a daily affair. Things are changing so quickly, and the opportunities change shape by the hour that regular discussion is required. I then have the select committee for public affairs and the constitution. We have Mark Sedwill and John Manzoni in front of us. They are the two most senior members of the civil service, the impartial civil service that support the cabinet office and prime minister’s office regardless of their own political views. I can’t help but think that must be incredibly hard at the best of times. Performing that task in today’s political climate takes great skill especially when there are people like Dominic Cummings sacking special advisers to the Exchequer. We asked about the legality of prorogation and the behaviour allowed during purdah. They are as you would expect consummate professionals extremely skilled in answering all questions. The same can’t be said of the current bunch running the UK government. And so to the chamber. At 7:15pm we had a Standing Order No. 24 motion: Prorogation and disclosure of communication. The motion proposed by Dominic Grieve including a ‘Humble Address’ requiring publication of documents related to the Government’s decision to prorogue parliament, and on no-deal planning under Operation Yellowhammer. The SNP voted AYE and the motion was carried 311 – 302. At 00:18 (on Tuesday morning): There was a motion that there shall be an early parliamentary general election. Proposed by the Prime Minister under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. The SNP abstained and although the motion was carried 293 – 46, this did not meet the threshold of two-thirds of all MPs to take effect under the Act. I abstained because this is a trap being set for a General Election under terms that suit the no deal Brexiteers. For the record I would welcome a General Election and when the time is right, I shall vote for it. I didn’t hang around for the ceremony to prorogue Parliament, instead I left the building and walked through the crowds of protesters that were still there at 1am and continued to my flat. Sleep came easy.

Tuesday

Everything has changed so it’s a scramble for transport home. The BA strike continues so it’s 18:30 before I can catch a flight. I spend my days writing, reading and catching up on correspondence.

Wednesday

I spent the morning talking to traders in Kempock Street and was impressed by their approach to the High Street of the year awards. Many units are now displaying posters and I am looking forward to the judges visiting on the 17th. Fortunately, I am not in charge of the car parking arrangements. In the afternoon I caught up with constituents and was delighted to be informed by one that we had won his case on Universal Credit and his payment has been reinstated and he had received over £2,500 in back payments. These victories for constituents are a huge part of an MPs job and each one is received with great joy. I took the opportunity to attend the SNP councillors group meeting which enhances my understanding of local issues and the machinery of the council. In the evening I attended the Inverclyde Historical Society for at talk on the British Constitution by Jim Carmichael. It was extremely interesting, and I hope to attend some future talks.

Thursday

A day consumed in the office with constituent’s cases and catching up with local organisations. Unexpected recess is easily reallocated to local people and events.

Friday

I had one of my regular meetings with the local jobcentre. In a professional capacity I am not seeking employment elsewhere. In the afternoon I went up to Captain Street to the Inverclyde men’s Shed where they use their experience and skills to the benefit of the local community. I had surgeries later in the afternoon.

On Sunday, I shall be doing the Alzheimer’s memory walk along with Stuart McMillan MSP.

Westminster diary w/b 2nd September

Monday

Last day of recess before heading back to Westminster. I met with the new management of the Oak mall and was heartened to hear about their plans to consolidate their investment in Inverclyde. High street retail has changed almost beyond recognition and we must move with the times. Combined with the announcement of £3 million pounds being spent to reinvigorate West Blackhall street, including £1.5 million from Sustrans Scotland, hopefully that area of the town is on the up. To achieve its potential, it will need to benefit from the cruise ship traffic and the new reception centre for cruise ships will help that. On that note it is good to see Inchgreen in operation building the floating pontoon for cruise ships to berth at. I travelled to London on a late flight with some colleagues including Dr Phillipa Whitford who despite being in a wheel chair having broken her ankle was required to travel to take part in important votes.

Tuesday

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm met to prepare for an important evidence session the next day. In the chamber there were two government statements. The Prime Minister bumbled through a statement about the G7. I am not one for the pomp and ceremony of Westminster. I am comfortable with a less formal approach but to work effectively certain codes of conduct and levels of professionalism are required. It is not just my observation that the current Prime Minister has none of these abilities. His statement was a disgrace. The Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove then delivered a statement on leaving the E.U.   I attended an event arranged by Transform Drugs in conjunction with the APPG on Drug Policy Reform. Speakers from Canada and Massachusetts outlined the routes they had taken to legalise cannabis. It is worthwhile noting that if you travelled from Alaska down to Guatemala every country or state you travel through has legalised cannabis. Importantly, in different ways to suit their own local concerns and needs. When Washington D.C. voted to legalise cannabis, 242 out of 243 districts said yes, the other said no, by nine votes. In the chamber there was a Standing Order 24 debate on the E.U. withdrawal. It is designed to protect the UK from leaving without a deal. The government opposed it but lost. They also managed to lose their majority and remove the whip from 21 rebel MPs. The Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg lounged about on the front benches following his Prime Minster’s lead showing utter contempt for the proceedings. Their public schoolboy, superior than though arrogance is now openly on display at every opportunity.

Wednesday

Prime Minister’s Question Time. The Prime Minister was so appalling bad that he made the leader of the opposition look good. He blustered, bumbled and even tried to bully his way through but it was clear to everyone that we have a Prime Minister who is incompetent and incoherent. In the evening the bill to ensure we don’t leave without a deal passed its next stage and headed up to the House of Lords. All things being equal it shall return on Monday for the 3rd reading and ten go for Royal Assent. In an attempt to thwart this the government called for a general election. Under the terms of the fixed term parliament act they need two thirds of all MPs (434) to vote for this motion and they only got 298. I did not vote for a general election currently as it was only a means to an end. When the time comes, I shall vote for a general election.

I acknowledged the spirit of inventiveness and ingenuity that these times call for by wearing my James Watt tartan tie which was gifted to me by the Provost of Inverclyde Council.

Thursday

After all the shenanigans of the past two days business was slow. I did get taken during an urgent question on HS2 and asked if the government could confirm that HS2 is still planned to extend to Scotland as this was the original plan when it was announced in January 2009. He couldn’t confirm this despite the parliamentary under Secretary of State telling me it would in a Westminster Hall debate last July. I caught the 20:35 flight home.

Friday

In the morning I had meetings with local traders and the GMB trade union. In the afternoon I had surgeries until 5pm.

Westminster diary w/b 22nd July

Monday

Down to London to witness the last few days of Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister. Security around the estate has increased and temperatures are soaring as London experiences a heatwave. It’s going to be an uncomfortable week in many ways. I recorded radio interviews on the topic of overdose prevention centres for Global Radio.

Tuesday

The select committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs took evidence from the Electoral Commission as part of our ongoing inquiry into electoral law. We also discussed our future programme and I am hopeful that Citizens Assemblies will be considered. I know committee members have very different views on this subject and that usually results in a robust inquiry and a balanced report. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia met with representatives of the Catalonian independence movement. I only mention that as I have kept all my contact with them in the public domain. On such occasions I am usually followed and photographed by somebody from the Spanish authorities. I have no idea why they would do such a thing but recently disclosed papers have contained my name and photographs of me at events. The big news of the day was that Boris Johnson was the new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Wednesday

Questions to the outgoing Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, was a lively prelude to the big show later that day. Mr Mundell swore his allegiance to the incoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. It was a futile attempt to hang onto his job and everyone could see that. Prime Ministers Questions was mobbed. For the first time in months the Conservative and Unionist benches were full to overflowing. They came to bury Theresa not to praise her. They had no shame as they applauded her out of the chamber. The same people that plotted and planned to remove her from office, stood and clapped as she went. The hypocrisy and shallowness of politics really comes to the fore on such occasions. The day then became a feeding frenzy for political hacks predicting and reporting on the coming and going of cabinet members and advisers. To say that thing went from bad to worse would be the understatement of the year. I escaped the madness on the 20:35 out of London.

Thursday

The relative calm and, as always, abundant grounded common sense of my constituency office was a welcome oasis of sensibility this morning. In the afternoon I had a couple of meetings in Glasgow including one with Derek Mackay, Finance Secretary of Scotland. The latter meeting involved representatives from the Scottish Government, trade unions and local elected members. The topic of discussion was Ferguson Marine. It was heartening to hear the Scottish Governments commitment to safeguarding the jobs at the yards.

Friday

I had meeting with three local businesses covering a range of issues. Today is the first day of recess and so I shall be working out of my constituency office until parliament sits again on the 3rd of September. Recess affords me the opportunity for to catch up with local businesses, organisations and individuals and I look forward to taking that opportunity over the next few weeks.