There were two meetings of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee this week. In the first meeting we heard from Greg Clark MP, the Secretary of State for BEIS, for the first time since he took over from Sajid Javid earlier this year. He was grilled on a number of topics, from Climate Change to Brexit. You can watch the whole session by using the link above.
On Thursday we heard evidence from Peter Mandelson, the former Minister without Portfolio in the last Labour Government and former EU Commissioner for Trade. He gave evidence on his experiences of setting up an industrial strategy and once again, you can watch the session using the link above.
On Wednesday this week there was a debate on the ongoing humanitarian situation in Aleppo. I think everyone has been shocked by the testimony of those suffering in this horrible conflict. That is why I joined like-minded colleagues in the house in calling for the creation of UN-backed safe zones, humanitarian corridors and aid drops into the worst affected areas. Last Friday’s vote at the UN, which called for an end to the siege of Aleppo and the delivery of aid, gave the UK Government an opportunity to act on the will of the international community to carry out these actions. Sadly the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and the UK Government failed to support this. Nevertheless, I and other MPs will continue to push for immediate and effective action from this Government.
Whilst it is vital that we continue to press the Government to take action in Syria, I will also be urging the Prime Minister to take in and shelter refugees from Aleppo and the surrounding areas, and urging the Government to encourage the international community to do likewise. Britain has taken in fewer refugees from this conflict that any other major European nation. I am proud that Scotland has taken a third of the refugees that the UK has settled but we can and must do more.
Commercial Financial Dispute Resolution Platform Debate
This week I was one of the sponsors of a bill presented to parliament which called for the setting up of a commercial financial dispute resolution platform. The reason a resolution platform like this is so important is that many small and medium sized businesses in the UK are unable to take banks to court because they do not have the necessary finances. If an independent resolution platform could be set up, we could protect the businesses that are unfairly shut down by banks for spurious reasons. You can watch my speech in this debate by using this link - http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4408719a-8ab0-435b-94b9-c8c07bd227f7?in=14%3A10%3A20&out=14%3A15%3A20
The Istanbul Convention is a key piece of legislation that aims to protect women from violence. Today's private member's bill from Eilidh Whiteford MP tried to force the UK Government to outline a timetable for ratifying the convention. Thankfully, despite the best efforts of parliament's worst MP, the bill passed.
Sadly because I needed to be in parliament I missed my planned surgeries and the Corstorphine Living Advent in my office today. I hope all the local residents of Corstorphine who dropped in for the event enjoyed the mince pies and music and I look forward to seeing them next year when we host the event again.