Along with submitting motions celebrating good news in the local community and processing multiple new enquiries, I have had a few exciting ventures this week.
I met with pupils from Larbert High School, Bo’ness Academy and St Mary’s Primary School in Bo’ness.
Larbert High School pupils have been working on the Future Asset project and we met at their reception in the Scottish Parliament. Visiting local schools and hearing from learners of all ages is always enjoyable and all the students kept me on my toes!
The African Space Delegation visited the Scottish Parliament earlier this week. I was delighted to join Angus Robertson and Beatrice Wishart to welcome them. Few people know Glasgow is the 2nd biggest producer of satellites after California and Scotland has 20% of all UK jobs via the space sector. Our roundtable discussion focussed on satellites and AI, and the financing at scale of satellite projects.
The Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage Conference was held in Edinburgh on Tuesday. As a keynote speaker I explored what the Scottish Government and local authorities are doing to address the need for greener energy.

My Week in 5

Another eventful week both in the parliament and across my Falkirk East constituency. Here are a few highlights in what was certainly a busy end to the month:

  1. Had a really engaging visit with higher students from Braes High School who had some very interesting questions for me. Great contributions as ever from a fantastic school.
  2. Delighted to visit Bo’ness Food Pantry and meet local volunteers working hard to support others in need. My office team got together a lovely selection of items for their Christmas hamper appeal and I was also happy to pass on a monetary donation to support their work
  3. On Tuesday it was a pleasure to host an event led by the Institute of Analytics looking at the topic of AI and the need for wider recruitment in the world of data technology. I was also delighted to welcome the “Star of European Unity” to the parliament and provide an opportunity for MSPs to discuss Scotland’s place at the heart of Europe.
  4. Both my committees held their sessions in private this week but on the floor of the chamber I was pleased to make an important contribution to the debate marking 16 Days of Action against Gender-based Violence. You can watch my speech in full in earlier posts.
  5. We certainly marked Scotland’s national day in style this week with a lively event in the Scottish Parliament, hosted by the CPG on St. Andrew’s Day, which I convene. More details in earlier posts here




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.


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