Unison Right to Remain Day of Action
My first call of business this week involved dropping in to a Unison event to show my support for the rights of EU citizens to stay in the UK following Brexit. The Prime Minister has insisted that she wishes to see the rights of EU citizens in this country secured as soon as possible, yet she will not do so until she receives a reciprocal agreement from the EU.
While this cold hearted calculation may have some logic to it, the argument falls apart under scrutiny. Is the Prime Minister really suggesting that we would expel over 3 million EU citizens, who contribute so much to our economy, culture and way of life, if the EU did the same to British citizens? Even if the EU bizarrely chose to expel British citizens from their own countries, I would not support doing this to people who are living and working here and who moved here legally. A unilateral declaration of the right for these individuals to remain in the UK would also start negotiations over Brexit on a positive footing which could surely only benefit us as we seek a constructive relation going forward with the EU. Hopefully Theresa May will note the widespread public support for allowing EU citizens to remain in the country and act accordingly.
This week’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee meeting heard from stakeholders in the energy market as we continue our inquiry into consumer energy and the impact of Brexit. You can watch the full session by copying and pasting the following link –
Barclays / MSF / End Violence Against Women Coalition
As part of my role as an MP I am asked to meet with a wide range of organisations, from small charities to multi-national corporations. This week for example I met with representatives from Barclay’s Bank, the End Violence Against Women Coalition and Médecins Sans Frontières. Each meeting provides valuable information and I am especially grateful to the End Violence Against Women Coalition and MSF for taking the time to meet with me and my team to provide valuable insight.
Prime Minister’s Questions
At PMQs this week I asked the Prime Minister whether or not she would comment on the sale of the Green Investment Bank and the impact it would have on jobs in Edinburgh, the Government’s green agenda and the cost to taxpayers. Sadly, she was too busy laughing and joking with her Conservative colleagues to answer the question and I was promised a letter with a response to my query. As I write this update, no letter has been sent. I will continue to campaign on this issue as I believe a sale at this time is not in anyone’s best interest as it will likely lead to the loss of jobs in Edinburgh and reduced investment in the green economy.
On Thursday there was a powerful debate in the House of Commons about the Dubs scheme and Britain’s commitment to re-settling child refugees. MPs from across the political spectrum made powerful speeches about the need for the UK to honour the commitments it made last summer to support child refugees. From the Conservative MP Geoffrey Cox who said, “It is not in the interests of our reputation as a country to be seen to be a nation parsimonious and mean-spirited in the fulfilment of an obligation.” to the SNP’s Stuart McDonald who said of re-starting the Dubs scheme: “Doing so would show respect for this Parliament, command respect from the public, show solidarity with our European neighbours and, most importantly, save children from exploitation and abuse.”
I could not agree more with sentiments expressed by Stuart McDonald and I hope that the Prime Minister sees sense on this issue sooner rather than later.
Finally this Friday saw the passing of a bill through parliament that committed the UK Government to ratifying the Istanbul Convention. The Istanbul Convention is a landmark piece of work that aims to combat gender based violence. While the Government had signed the convention, this is the first piece of legislation that will commit them to ratifying it thus forcing the policies contained within it into law. Praise must go to Eilidh Whiteford MP who led this bill through parliament and to all the MPs who voted it through.