Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East
Born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1959, Tommy was educated at a local grammar school and, equipped with the requisite A levels, moved to Scotland to study medicine at Aberdeen University. He graduated with a degree in politics and sociology – the start of a lifelong interest in politics. He returned to Scotland in 1993 and established the Sta...nd Comedy Club in 1995, which he started as a hobby and built into a successful business. Tommy lives in Minto Street with his partner Kate and cocker spaniel Henry. More

Westminster Hall Debate on Fireworks

Fireworks-PSD-Web-header

Given the numerous, and pretty serious, incidents in Edinburgh East on Bonfire Night I was very happy to take part in the Westminster Hall debate on an e-petition relating to fireworks. Here's a few clips from the speech.

Fireworks Debate - 29th Jan 18

 

Continue reading
  494 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
494 Hits
0 Comments

Council of Europe urgent debate on Palestine

CofE-Palestine-Web

Here's my speech at the Council of Europe urgent debate on Palestine. Trump's recent actions have made America's role as a mediator untenable. It now falls to Europe to step up to find a solution for Israel and Palestine.

 

Continue reading
  511 Hits
  0 Comments
511 Hits
0 Comments

EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 18th January

EU-bill-speaking

This week Parliament was back debating the EU Withdrawal Bill as it entered the Report stage in the House of Commons. Before I update you on those debates, I want to let you know about a report the Scottish Government have published.

On Monday the Scottish Government released its second paper on the potential implications of Brexit on Scotland and the options available to us.  Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment outlines that leaving the EU could result in a hit to GDP of up to 8.5%, equivalent to a loss of £2,300 per year for each person in Scotland. Scotland needs continued migration from the EU (each additional EU citizen working in Scotland currently contributes an average of £10,400 in tax revenue) and, ultimately, Scotland and the UK need to stay inside the Single Market and Customs Union to protect Scotland’s interests.  Do take a read if you can find the time – it’s a document that brings some much needed evidence and facts to the debate.

Continue reading
  1666 Hits
  0 Comments
1666 Hits
0 Comments

International Development Question on UNWRA

UNWRA-web

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) gives aid to more than 5 million refugees in the Palestinian territories and neighbouring countries. Trump has just announced that the US plans to withdraw funding.

I used my International Development question today to ask about the UK Government position.

Continue reading
  385 Hits
  0 Comments
385 Hits
0 Comments

SNP Amendment 59 to the Exiting the EU Bill

Amendment-59-for-we_20180124-105707_1

I spoke in favour of the SNP Amendment 59, under which the UK would confirm continued membership of the single market and customs union before ministers could use secondary legislation to implement any withdrawal agreement agreed with the EU under Article 50.

The amendment was defeated by 322 to 99.

Continue reading
  451 Hits
  0 Comments
451 Hits
0 Comments

Scottish Affairs Select Committee - RBS Branch Closures

Scot-Aff-Select-Committee-RBS-Website-forma_20180124-102740_1

The Scottish Affairs Committee took evidence on the closure of RBS branches across the country. Here's a few of the questions I asked. 

Scottish Affairs Committee - 17th Jan 18Posted by Tommy Sheppard MP on Wednesday, 17 January 2018

 

Continue reading
  408 Hits
  0 Comments
408 Hits
0 Comments

Urgent Statement on Carillion

carillion-web

I sought assurances from the UK Government that they will do all they can to protect jobs at Carillion. It was, after all, the government who continued to give these contracts out, not the employees. 

  400 Hits
  0 Comments
400 Hits
0 Comments

Cabinet Office question on voter registration

cab-off-voter-registration-web

New ministerial team in the Cabinet Office but still not able to answer a question. Given she disagrees with my analysis does that mean the Government has changed its mind and we'll no longer be getting a plan to increase voter registration?

Cabinet Office Questions - 10th Jan 18Posted by Tommy Sheppard MP on Wednesday, 10 January 2018
  462 Hits
  0 Comments
462 Hits
0 Comments

Westminster Hall debate on Yorkshire Devolution

Yorkshire-devo

Westminster convention dictates that the the third party (that's us these days) has to sum up in all debates - even the ones that aren't that relevant to us.

I was asked to sum up for the SNP in the Westminster Hall debate on Yorkshire devolution. It's quite different from our desire for complete independence. That said I have a lot of sympathy for parts of England who want more local control over how they are governed. 

Continue reading
  335 Hits
  0 Comments
335 Hits
0 Comments

EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 21st December

speaking

It’s time for my last EU Withdrawal Bill of the year! The Bill passed through its first committee stage last night and now heads to report stage in January.  After eight days of debate and only one non-government amendment being voted through, there was no last minute controversy (well, apart from Damian Green being sacked but that’s another story).

We had six votes last night on a variety of amendments and new clauses. Initially we had thought there might be another defeat for the Government but, in order to avoid it, they brought forward a compromised amendment on the date and definition of exit day. The government amendment basically fixes the UK’s EU exit date as 11pm on 29 March 2019, unless ministers decide to change it. It passed by 319-294.

Continue reading
  495 Hits
  0 Comments
495 Hits
0 Comments

May faces Tory civil war if UK becomes ‘EU colony’

westminster-PSDd

Well, as years go, 2017 wasn’t the greatest. Globally, the world became a much more precarious place.

Donald Trump got his feet under the Oval Office desk and spent most of the year insulting people almost everywhere. Ramping up international tensions he rattled some pretty big sabres at North Korea. The year finished with Trump firmly taking sides in the Middle East conflict, much to chagrin of pretty much every diplomat in the rest of the world.

Continue reading
  547 Hits
  0 Comments
547 Hits
0 Comments

EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 14th December

speaking-2

Well we finally have it. The coalition were defeated in the House of Commons last night. Despite their attempts to cajole and bully their backbenchers, 11 Tories rebelled and Amendment 7 passed by just 4 votes.  And while Ministers are now jumping to say that it isn’t significant, that it’s only one vote and that Brexit is on track their faces told a very different story in the Chamber.

This is important. Amendment 7 means that parliament will need to have a meaningful vote on any Brexit deal. And the fact it passed shows that there are Conservative MPs who are willing to break party lines for the greater good. That’s a positive for the longer term  - if this Bill doesn’t come back at report stage with real and meaningful amendments on a number of the key issues, the rebels may well come back.

Continue reading
  1771 Hits
  2 Comments
1771 Hits
2 Comments

EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 11th December

speaking

It’s difficult to know where to start on last week’s Brexit developments. On Monday the Prime Minister was left scrabbling around after the DUP flexed their muscles and refused to agree the deal with the EU that would enable to them to move on to Phase 2 of negotiations.

By the end of the week the deal was done and a joint statement was issued from the UK Government and negotiators from the European Union (read it in full here).  I don’t understand why the Brexiteers seem so relaxed following this. I suspect they know something we don’t as on the face of it, you’d think they wouldn’t be keen.

Continue reading
  2399 Hits
  0 Comments
2399 Hits
0 Comments

Edinburgh needs to get a grip on its Airbnb craze

AirBNB

Ever rented out a room in your flat? I have. Many people in Edinburgh have too. The city sees a massive influx during August and without residents offering up spare rooms – or indeed their whole home – there’d simply be nowhere for the festival to live.

But the festival has always been an exception. Worth the inconvenience and congestion because we get the biggest arts event in the world and it’s good for the city’s economy and reputation.

Continue reading
  709 Hits
  1 Comment
709 Hits
1 Comment

Scottish Office Questions

Scot-Off-Qs

Earlier today I finally extracted a commitment from the UK Government to amend clause 11 of the #EUWithdrawalBill during Scottish Office questions. But they can’t say when.

 
  432 Hits
  0 Comments
432 Hits
0 Comments

Debate on Demolitions

Demolitions-header

Here's my contribution to the debate in Westminster Hall on the effect of Israeli demolitions on Palestinian communities

  360 Hits
  0 Comments
360 Hits
0 Comments

EU Withdrawal Bill Debate

EU-Withdrawal-header

Here's my speech from the debate on the #EUWithdrawalBill before we voted on crucial amendments to protect devolution.

  425 Hits
  0 Comments
425 Hits
0 Comments

November Newsletter - Constituency

Fireworks

I used my Evening News column this month to talk about fireworks following the extreme antisocial behaviour on bonfire night. I've also written to the Minister asking for the UK Government to toughen up licensing laws. And if they aren't willing to do that, devolve power over fireworks to the Scottish Parliament so they can act. Read the full article here.

 

Continue reading
  440 Hits
  0 Comments
440 Hits
0 Comments

Newsletter November - Westminster

Brexit-Bill

The EU Withdrawal Bill entered its committee stage this month in the House of Commons.  As it is a constitutional bill it is considered by a committee of the whole house – in other words all MPs consider it in the main chamber. While hundreds of amendments were tabled, only a few are selected for a vote each day. There will be eight days of debate in total, three of which took place in November. On Day 3 I called for the UK Government to think again on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. Watch my full speech here. Frustratingly the DUP are earning their keep and ensuring the Tory Government haven't been defeated on any votes as yet. Not helped by the Labour Party abstaining on several issues.  The Scottish Affairs Select Committee report on the devolution of powers following Brexit was published last weekend. This report was approved by all parties on the committee (including the Tories) and raised serious concerns about the impact of the EU Withdrawal Bill on Scotland’s devolution settlement. It called for the UK Government to take urgent action to improve the Bill and provide clarity about the implications of their legislation for Scotland. You can read the full report here.I know how difficult it can be to not only keep up with what is happening as Brexit proceeds, but to understand the antiquated political systems that make up the UK parliament. So I am sharing regular updates as the Bill makes its way through parliament on my website - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like to be added to the mailing list. I’ll be speaking again on Monday on the effects on the Bill on devolution.

 

Continue reading
  399 Hits
  0 Comments
399 Hits
0 Comments

Debate on Deafness

I took part in the debate on deafness and had my first go at British Sign Language - something I may well need one day given my own hearing loss. Scotland’s already passed a BSL Bill, it's time for Westminster to follow suit.

  346 Hits
  0 Comments
346 Hits
0 Comments

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
29 June 2017
Tommy's Blog
Media
Well, this is awkward. I had hoped to use my column this month to bring a digest of the Queen's Speech. This is where Her Majesty reads out the legislative programme of the government of the day. Only there isn't one. Well, there is, but it is so vacuous and devoid of content that there might as well not be.It’s surely bordering on abuse of the elderly to oblige a 91 year old woman to read this ru...
Tommy Sheppard
19 June 2017
Tommy's Blog
Media
So here's an article I wrote for the Sunday Herald reflecting on the general election result. It seems to have caused some excitement. The newspaper rather mischievously suggested this was me breaking ranks and of course the right wing press have been calling this an SNP split. It isn't. There's nothing I say here regarding a second Indy referendum that is inconsistent with the party's approach ov...
Tommy Sheppard
30 March 2017
Tommy's Blog
Articles
Media
There have been some daft arguments put against allowing people in Scotland to have a choice about the future of their country.You have no mandate Ruth Davidson tells Nicola Sturgeon. Really? Did the SNP not mention this in their manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election last year? Let’s check. Maybe it’s buried away somewhere. No wait. Page 24 has a whole section on a second referendum. It s...
Tommy Sheppard
11 March 2017
Tommy's Blog
I’ve been denounced – again!This time I appear to have incurred the wrath of the Catholic Church in Scotland’s hierarchy. A front page report in yesterday’s Scottish Catholic Observer claims I have a “plan” to outlaw Catholic schools and that my views are “chillingly intolerant”. Sadly due to the deterioration of Scottish journalism once great newspapers like The Scotsman have simply rehashed the ...
Tommy Sheppard
19 February 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
The hills around Jerusalem were drenched in sun the last time I was here. It brought out their significance and history. This week, though, the Holy Land has been visited by a Scottish winter. As I peer through the steamed up windows of our VW Transporter, it’s decidedly dreich out there.I’m here on a parliamentary delegation to see if the political mood matches the weather. The trip is organised ...