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

SNP Amendment 59 to the Exiting the EU Bill

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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.

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Scottish Affairs Select Committee - RBS Branch Closures

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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

 

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Urgent Statement on Carillion

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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. 

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Cabinet Office question on voter registration

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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
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Westminster Hall debate on Yorkshire Devolution

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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. 

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EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 21st December

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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.

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

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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.

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EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 14th December

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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.

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EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 11th December

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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.

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Edinburgh needs to get a grip on its Airbnb craze

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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.

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Scottish Office Questions

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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.

 
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Debate on Demolitions

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

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EU Withdrawal Bill Debate

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

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November Newsletter - Constituency

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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.

 

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Newsletter November - Westminster

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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.

 

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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.

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PMQ on the House of Lords

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A perfect example of not answering the question - illustrating all that is wrong with PMQs.

PMQ 29th Nov 17Posted by Tommy Sheppard MP on Wednesday, 29 November 2017
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Budget Debate

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My take on the budget as part of the debate this week.

 

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EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 23rd November

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So the EU Withdrawal Bill was back in the Commons for Day 3 of the committee stage this week and, as promised, I’m writing to update you on what happened.

Before I talk about the Bill itself, you might be interested in the events of Monday’s Ways and Means debate. Ways and Means is a traditional term for taxes or other charges levied on the public in order to fund Government spending. And while not directly linked to the EU Withdrawal Bill, Brexit transcends everything. In an alternative attempt to get the UK to consider staying in the single market with access to the customs union the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, Ian Murray, had tabled an amendment that was selected for a vote.

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Question on the cost of Brexit

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I've been trying to get information on this for months. But still no clear answer as to how many civil servants are working on Brexit and how much it will cost.

Cabinet Office Questions - 22nd Nov 17Posted by Tommy Sheppard MP on Wednesday, 22 November 2017
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Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
25 April 2019
Tommy's Blog
Media
Forty years ago in the sweltering summer of 1979 I got myself arrested at Torness. I was one of hundreds protesting against the construction of the nuclear power station. For my efforts I got to spend a night in the cells at Dunbar nick.As the then Thatcher government was keen to point out - we didn't stop Torness. But as I'm keen to point out it was a tipping point. The time when nuclear energy l...
Tommy Sheppard
29 March 2019
Tommy's Blog
Media
For many months the government has wielded a number of sticks to beat MPs into supporting its Withdrawal Agreement. It might be bad, they argue, but the alternative is worse. Remainers have been threatened with no deal. Leavers with no Brexit.The latest big stick is the threat of having to participate in the European parliamentary elections. To avoid this the Government (and the EU’s) new deadline...
Tommy Sheppard
28 March 2019
Tommy's Blog
Media
So we’re not leaving the European Union tomorrow after all. As the Brexiters cancel their street parties and put away the bunting the rest of us should think carefully about what to do with the reprieve.This week started with parliament voting to take control of the process from government. A move without precedent. In truth, we were forced into it. What else can you do when faced with a governmen...
Tommy Sheppard
28 February 2019
Tommy's Blog
Media

Four weeks ago I was worried about writing this column on the eve of the last major parliamentary debate on Brexit. Anything could have happened, rendering my speculation obsolete by the time you read it. I shouldn’t have fretted. Anything could have happened but nothing did.

Here I am again. Groundhog day. It’s Tuesday. There’s a big debate tomorrow.

Tommy Sheppard
31 January 2019
Tommy's Blog

Tuesday. Another day spent discussing Brexit. Another day of my life I’m not getting back.

We are no further forward. As the clock ticks down to exit it’s only fair to ask: What the hell is Theresa May playing at?