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

Debate on a second independence referendum

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Here's the final part of my speech on a second Indyref in Westminster Hall.

 

Westminster Hall Debate 13th Nov 17 Posted by Tommy Sheppard MP on Tuesday, 14 November 2017
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Time to license fireworks

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All over Scotland last weekend families enjoyed watching the fireworks.  The spectacle of fire and colour brought happiness to many – young and old. The same was true in Edinburgh. All over the city – and especially at Meadowbank – majestic displays thrilled the crowds.

But in a few parts of the city a tiny minority set out to cause havoc and intimidate local people. In a few places in north and east Edinburgh a small number used fireworks and fire not to entertain but to terrify. Local people imprisoned themselves in their homes for fear of going out. Cars were set alight and fireworks thrown at emergency services workers trying to protect the public. We’re lucky there weren’t even more serious injuries.

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October Newsletter - Westminster

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My monthly column in the Edinburgh Evening News was a good chance to go into a bit more detail on the fracking ban in Scotland. I'm delighted we've reached this point - if you feel the same have a read here.

I took part in the debate on devolved powers in Westminster Hall. Tory MP Stephen Kerr appeared to call this debate simply to have a go at the SNP. So I wanted to set the record straight outlining some of the key achievements the Scottish Government have attained with their, limited, albeit devolved powers. And how they've helped Kerr's Stirling constituents. He didn't seem to like it but you can watch it here.

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Newsletter October - Constituency

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Long before I stood for election I opposed fracking and I’ve been very pleased to be part of the campaign against it over the past couple of years. So I was delighted by the announcement from Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy, in the Scottish Parliament earlier in the month, and the subsequent vote last week.

Fracking will have no place in Scotland’s energy mix.

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Plaid Cymru Fraternal Address

I was delighted to join our sister party Plaid Cymru and make the fraternal address at their conference. 

 

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PMQ on a fracking ban for the rest of the UK

On the back of the Scottish Parliament voting to ban fracking, I asked Theresa May to consider a moratorium in the rest of the UK. She's as out of touch on this as she is on so many other things.

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Devolved Powers Debate in Westminster Hall

Oh dear, I seem to have upset Stirling Tory MP Stephen Kerr in the debate on devolved powers. 
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Fracking ban makes me proud of SNP government

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I have never been prouder of our SNP Scottish Government than I was last Tuesday when the Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, made a statement to parliament on fracking. He was responding to a huge public consultation on the issue and he made it crystal clear that fracking would not be part of the energy mix in Scotland.

Not only was this the right decision but the manner in which the government arrived at its position was an exemplar in public policy making. Campaigners, including myself, have been trying to get a ban on fracking for years. But rather than rush into a decision the government has taken the best part of two years to research the evidence, and most importantly, ask the people what they wanted.

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Scotland Bans Fracking

Long before I stood for election I opposed fracking and I’ve been very pleased to be able to coordinate opposition over the past couple of years.

So you’ll not be surprised to hear that I am delighted by the announcement that has just been made by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy, in the Scottish Parliament.

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Catalonia

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Yesterday I got back from a holiday – the only time of the year where I switch off from the world.  I turned on my phone to see with horror what was happening in #Catalonia.

The actions of the Spanish authorities were shocking. Images beamed around the world of police violence against young and old alike who simply wanted to cast a democratic vote.  I’m in awe of the voters who remained peaceful and dignified throughout. The image of a Catalan policeman in tears as he protected their rights will stay with me for a long time.

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TSB Still Closed on Niddrie Mains Road

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I campaigned with local people against the closure of TSB’s Craigmillar branch. Nearly a year on from TSB closing the bank, the building is still lying empty. This will be costing them money and is no good for the community who have since had the bus to the closest bank rerouted and also seen the post office close.

Wouldn’t it make sense for them to reopen the branch part-time so that the building would be used and local people and small traders could benefit from banking services?

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IFAW Campaign to Stop the Ivory Trade

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I was delighted to attend the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Westminster launch of a new report on the illegal ivory trade across Europe, (Ivory seizures in Europe, 2006-2015), which found that the European Union is still a destination for illegal ivory, a major transit route between countries and a key exporter of antique ivory to South East Asian markets.

I fully support the campaign for greater protection for elephants which are being decimated for the ivory trade. Populations are at an all-time low with the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year.

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Permanent Residence Certification Petition

I presented a petition on the system of obtaining permanent residence certification. As you can see here, members of parliament from other parties are clearly not as concerned about the difficulties facing many people trying to guarantee their right to live in the UK.

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EU Withdrawal Bill

The EU Withdrawal Bill passed its second reading with the help of the Scottish Tories. Here's my speech from the chamber explaining why I voted against it.  
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International Day of Democracy

The Westminster Hall Debate on the International Day of Democracy was an opportunity to examine our modern, imperfect democracy and what we could be doing better. It won't shock you that the House of Lords, proportional representation and voter participation all get a mention. You can watch my contribution here.

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Paid Internship Opportunity

APPLICATIONS ARE INVITED FOR THE POST OF PAID INTERN (PART-TIME, FIXED-TERM) LOCATION: Constituency offices in Portobello and Craigmillar I am seeking an intern for my constituency office. This will give someone the opportunity to learn how a constituency office works to support the MP and constituents. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to gain general administrative skills and be involved in the daily operation of a constituency office.  The living wage will be paid for all hours worked (approximately 10 hours per week) and I can be flexible in relation to days/hours worked to fit round any existing study/work commitments. The role will be for a fixed term of 3 - 6 months. An interest in politics will help but no previous experience is necessary. Applicants should show a willingness to learn and enthusiasm to try new things. I hope that the successful candidate can contribute towards the support currently provided by my constituency office team. In return the intern will benefit from gaining knowledge, experience and confidence during their employment. Your CV and covering letter should be sent to my Chief of Staff, Roz Currie, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and should be submitted by noon on Friday 29th September. Interviews will be held on Friday 6th October although an alternative date can be arranged if required. Please share with anyone who might be interested. 
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Scrap the Cap Demo at Westminster

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There was a big turnout from SNP MPs to support Royal College of Nursing #scrapthecap demo at Westminster.

And great to see Geoff who had made the journey from Edinburgh East alongside other RCN members from across the UK.

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Royal High Primary - Who Represents Us?

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I was delighted to be invited, for the second year running, to the Royal High Primary to join the P7s for a discussion as part of their topic 'Who Represents Us?'.

We had a great discussion about the role of an MP as part of their democracy project.

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Constituency Business - August 2017

Welcome to my August Newsletter.  Parliament has been in recess for the past month so this newsletter will focus on my work in Edinburgh East. Though of course, politics continues even when the Westminster parliament isn't sitting. And the mess that is Brexit continues unabated. Next week I head back to Westminster where we'll have the first vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill. Let's see if Corbyn and his parliamentary party are ready to work with us on this. August is a great month for me - I'm able to be based at home (the joy of sleeping in your own bed every night cannot be underestimated!) and I get to catch up on all the goings on in the constituency. Though it does feature the toughest decision of my year - judging the Portobello Sandcastle Competition (winner above). It was a great sunny day with lots of people taking part in the Beach Busk along the prom. I'm already looking forward to next year. 

This month I was honoured to be asked to give the annual Thomas Muir memorial lecture. Thomas Muir was a tireless campaigner for political reform in the late 18th Century and his actions radically changed the political landscape in our country and across the UK. In the lecture I focused on the parallels between our movement today and Muir's work and the lessons we need to learn from the General Election. You can watch my lecture here. 

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MPs reporting their own constituents - a statement

MPs have been reporting their own constituents to the Home Office for breaking immigration rules. Let me say that again, Members of Parliament - who people come to for help and advice – have been reporting these same people to the Home Office for immigration enforcement. 482 tip offs between 2014 and 2016.

You’d be forgiven for having missed this news that was reported last Friday by politics.co.uk. The mainstream media didn’t exactly jump on it. But it is a major story and we should all be outraged by it. Trust in elected members isn’t exactly at its highest level and this rightly adds to the anger and distrust many feel.

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Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
30 May 2016
Tommy's Blog
Four elections and a referendum: It’s been a helluva five years. With the new SNP Government now sworn in the party can at last move off a permanent war footing. It’s time to take stock, re-group and plan.And what a change in the political terrain has taken place. The Labour heartlands are no more. Once the party of the working class, Labour is now only capable of clinging on to constituencies tha...
Tommy Sheppard
09 May 2016
Tommy's Blog
No matter how you look at it, the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election was a convincing win for the SNP. The party was seeking an historic third term after nine years in charge at Holyrood. It got it. With knobs on. More votes than ever before in a Scottish parliamentary election and a bigger share of the vote too.What’s not to like? Well, I guess the fact that even though it was its best ever per...
Tommy Sheppard
11 March 2016
Tommy's Blog
I will be voting to stay in the European Union in June. This is not in the belief that everything is in perfect working order, but in the hope that we can work with neighbouring countries to turn it into a much better institution than it is now.I hope that Scotland will soon be an independent country but to get things done, whether at home or abroad, we will have to work together with other countr...
Tommy Sheppard
08 March 2016
Tommy's Blog

The Sunday Express recently reported that I have broken one of the rules of the House of Commons. These things have a way of getting out of proportion, so I wanted to be very clear with everyone about what has happened.

All MPs have to register any outside interests, including shares they own in private companies.

Tommy Sheppard
22 February 2016
Tommy's Blog
“Welcome to Israel” she said with no more sullenness than passport control officers the world over. And that was that, I was through. No “just follow me sir” to a windowless room, no search, no hassle. My colleague Hameed, who was organising our trip, wasn’t so lucky. An hour and a half later he joined our party on the other side of customs. We’re here on a four day trip from the UK parliament: si...