The news from Petroineos on Wednesday has understandably dominated my activity this week and I would stress my commitment to all residents in Falkirk East to work tirelessly in safeguarding the interests of workers, local business and communities who are  affected by this announcement.

  1. Following Wednesday’s announcement I immediately set up a meeting with Petroineos and lodged an urgent question in the Scottish Parliament which was heard on Thursday afternoon. You can watch the full exchange on the following link as well as my earlier question to the First Minister here
  1. I have met with representatives from one of the main unions and am in the process of setting up discussions with other unions as soon as possible. I have also met separately with Scottish Enterprise and the leader of Falkirk Council earlier today. I intend to have further such regular meetings and have written to the community councils of Grangemouth and Bo’ness, whom I hope to meet with soon also.
  1. Earlier in the week I had a wonderful visit to Carrongrange High School and was delighted to hear about the fantastic opportunities and experiences which are part of school life. Don’t forget to head along to their Christmas Fayre next Thursday morning – full details on my earlier post here
  1. I had a really interesting double visit to Drumbowie and Avonbridge  Primary Schools on Monday, including some excellent debating time. You can read more on my earlier post here
  1. While regrettably I had to miss Tuesday’s meeting of the Finance & Public Administration committee, I was delighted to see convener Kenny Gibson MSP picking up the committee’s 2nd award in recent months at The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year 2023 awards on Thursday. I did however attend Wednesday’s Education Children & Young People’s Committtee, where I took part in an important evidence session on the vital Scottish Government commitment of Keeping the Promise. You can watch my opening contribution on this here








1. Attended a moving service at Bo’ness Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Proud to lay a wreath on behalf of the Scottish Parliament.

2. Had a wonderful visit with the children at Blackness Primary School. They were delighted to tell me about their social enterprise award success and all their ambitious plans in the coming months.

3. Went on a walkabout with members of Grangemouth Community Council, speaking to local businesses around the La Porte Precinct.

4. Launched my office as a drop off location for the Salvation Army - Big Toy Appeal

5. Attended Grangemouth High School Careers Fayre as part of Scottish Careers Week. Enjoyed speaking to students on my varied career journey and hearing about their aspirations for the future.

Week in 5
This week I began a number of constituency engagements with a visit to Wallacestone Primary School. The classes had great listening skills and asked some very interesting questions about politics and my role as an MSP!
In this week’s Finance and Public Administration Committee meeting, I was interested to hear evidence from Minister Lorna Slater on the subject of the Financial Memorandum connected to the Circular Economy Bill. I asked the minister a variety of questions as part of a robust exchange, adding to previous scrutiny of financial memoranda produced by Government in recent weeks. You can read the details in earlier posts and watch my contribution at committee here
During Tuesday’s ministerial statement, I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills, Jenny Gilruth, about the consideration being given to a co-ordinated approach to proposed education reforms, which you will find a video of in earlier posts. Wednesday’s ECYP Committee also continued to take evidence from a variety of witnesses on this topic which can be seen here
On Thursday I asked Minister Natalie Don about the Government’s plans to tackle the crucial issue of balancing the rights of victims with the rights of the accused in the processes developed by the Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill. This has been a topic of significant scrutiny in the Education, Children and Young People’s Committee which you an read more about in previous posts.
I also enjoyed getting along to the parliamentary exhibition created by the Women's Support Project in celebration of their 40th Anniversary. Over the past 4 decades they have undertaken excellent work in their campaign to end gender based violence and commercial sexual exploitation of women.

Another busy week both in the constituency and parliament, beginning with an excellent visit to Carronshore Primary School, where I was delighted to meet with P7 pupils to discuss the role of democracy in Scottish life and the work I do on behalf of constituents.

Tuesday’s Finance & Public Administration Committee was conducted as a private session, however the Education, Children & Young People’s Committee had an important and robust evidence session on the Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill, hearing from Natalie Don - Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise. There continue to be a number of vital matters pertaining to the detail on this bill which I pressed the minister for answers on and continue to seek further clarity. You can watch committee proceedings for more detail on this here : (link)

In the chamber I made a number of contributions including asking Deputy FM Shona Robison about how Financial Memoranda produced by government can be improved and better subject to scrutiny. In the tight financial constraints of public spending this is a vital issue and important to the work of the Finance & Public Administration Committee. I was also able to contribute to the debate on the Rural & Islands Housing Action Plan and ask a question during the statement on the Scottish Government’s provision of information to the Covid-19 inquiries, which you can watch here : (link)

As convener of the Cross Party Group on St. Andrew’s Day, I was delighted to host a busy meeting, hard in the planning for our St Andrew’s Day event, now less than a month away.

I was also pleased to visit a number of exhibitions in parliament this week, showcasing the important work of Alcohol Focus Scotland and the Horticultural Trades Association. More on this can be found in previous Facebook posts.




The first week back after recess is always a busy one.
I kicked off the week with a visit to Carrondale Care Home in Carronshore. I met with staff and residents, and we covered a wide variety of topics! Larbert High School pupils were also there playing the bagpipes. Trishaw rider volunteers from Cycling Without Age, whom I will be meeting with directly in the New Year, were also there to give residents free trishaw rides around Falkirk if they wished to get out and about.
Alongside my Finance and Public Administration Committee and Education, Children and Young People Committee work in the Scottish Parliament, I also had the opportunity to speak in the Chamber through my contributions to the Citizen Participation & Public Petitions Committee Debate and a Supplementary Question at the Education and Skills Portfolio Questions.
School visits to the Scottish Parliament are a common occurrence throughout the year, and this week we welcomed Primary 6 pupils from Shieldhill Primary School. It was heartening to hear they are currently studying political literacy at school. I was very impressed with the quality of questions from them!


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