News & Articles

Some published articles and blog posts from Tommy Sheppard MP

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Media Articles, Radio, TV

I believe the SNP organisation needs an upgrade... and I'm the candidate to do it

I believe the SNP organisation needs an upgrade... and I'm the candidate to do it

We're past the halfway mark in the SNP depute leadership contest. Ballot papers go out in just 10 days’ time. This has been, and will continue to be, a good natured campaign – able candidates offering different views of what the job entails, discussing things in a respectful and thoughtful way.

So far there have been 17 hustings up and down the country with many more still to come. A few members have come up to me after these events a little frustrated. They complain that the meetings are meant to help people make up their minds and yet after hearing our presentations they are less sure of how to vote than beforehand.

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SNP depute contest is decidedly dignified

SNP depute contest is decidedly dignified

We’re pretty much halfway now in the ten-week campaign to find a new depute leader of Scotland’s main political party. And in stark contrast to other parties, the SNP contest seems a positive and good-natured one.

Sadly, there are no women in contention, but members do have a choice of four able blokes – any of whom could make a decent fist of the job.

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Women need a better deal ... we can't ease off the gas in our fight for equality

Women need a better deal ... we can't ease off the gas in our fight for equality

The contest for depute leader of the SNP is at the half-way mark. And it’s been an exemplar in how a democratic organisation should conduct itself. Able, thoughtful candidates have treated each other with respect and engaged with hundreds of party activists at dozens of hustings throughout the country. There’s just one thing that could have been better – it’s a shame this has ended up as a blokefest

The absence of any female candidates is a great disappointment and the contest would have been a richer one had there been some. We ought to ask ourselves why this happened. And we ought to make sure that it doesn’t mean that the position of women in Scotland and in our party gets less attention. I’ve heard a number of people remark that whilst it a shame there’s not a woman standing it’s okay since the party already has a strong female leader, and indeed is one of very few governing parties with a gender-balanced cabinet.

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We join parties to change the world

We join parties to change the world

So, I think we can all agree, policy is quite important. We join political parties to change the world. And deciding how it should change can be the most exciting bit. Discussing, thinking, working out how to make things better with others who share the same objectives but may have a different way to get there.

The way we decide policy is crucial to the SNP’s cohesion and strength as a political party. The essence of a democratic process is that it offers a trade-off. In return for being able to argue and maybe win your point of view we each agree to abide by whatever position is eventually agreed by the whole group. People who support a minority position will get behind the majority because there’s been a fair debate on the options. This allows parties, and other organisations, to agree a common way forward and their supporters to rally behind it.

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Our strength is our membership. We need to take everyone with us on this journey

Our strength is our membership. We need to take everyone with us on this journey

I’m standing for depute leader of the SNP because I want us to win the next independence referendum. To do that we need to get active, get organised and reach out, building a new independence alliance.

The past few years have been a time of tremendous change in Scottish politics. Fresh ideas have emerged, and old allegiances changed. Tens of thousands have joined the SNP. We need to get our party match fit to lead and win the next independence referendum.

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Politics should be uplifting and engaging ... let’s make it that way

Politics should be uplifting and engaging ... let’s make it that way

Our party needs an organisational upgrade. That’s why I’m standing for depute leader. Over the next two months I’m keen to listen to members about how they think we can improve but I also want to chuck out some ideas for discussion myself.

This week I’m focusing on the basic unit of our organisation – the party branch. This is internal stuff. Non-party members should maybe look away now. Or maybe not.

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'It's not about the EU... It’s about who gets to decide whether or not Scotland should be in the EU'

'It's not about the EU... It’s about who gets to decide whether or not Scotland should be in the EU'

And, we’re off! Nominations closed yesterday for the post of SNP depute and it was a shock to no-one that all four previously declared candidates have confirmed their position on the starting grid.

Today I launch my campaign at the CCA in Glasgow, where I’ll be setting out why I want the job.

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Put minds of European friends in Capital at rest

Put minds of European friends in Capital at rest

The Brexit vote raises many issues, but one in particular concerns Tommy Sheppard – and that’s the status of EU nationals

It’s just four weeks since people voted to leave the European Union in a UK-wide referendum and chaos reigns. It’s clear no-one, least of all the British government, had the first clue about what should happen if the vote went the way it did. The Scottish Government is fighting to protect Scotland’s position in Europe following a huge vote in favour here. The best brains in the country have been commissioned to see how we can keep our Scottish passports whilst being part of the UK. The new Prime Minister has said that any ideas they come up with can feed into the UK Brexit planning.

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Why I'm Standing for Depute Leader

Why I'm Standing for Depute Leader

Over the past few weeks I have been approached by a wide range of SNP members asking me to stand for the position of Depute Leader of our Party. After much thought I have decided to do so. Here’s why.

At this critical time in our nation’s history we have a window of opportunity, yet we still have much work to do in a short time. To be successful we need to use all of the talents of our party. I believe the job of Depute Leader is key to our success.

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Negative EU campaign is just not my cup of tea

Negative EU campaign is just not my cup of tea

We need to look at the big picture and avoid scaremongering tactics in the run-up to the June referendum, says Tommy Sheppard

With the Scottish election out of the way, the political focus turns to the referendum about whether to leave or remain part of the EU. I’m voting to stay, warts and all.

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Corbyn urged to get behind Westminster voting change

Corbyn urged to get behind Westminster voting change

JEREMY Corbyn is under pressure to back the scrapping of the UK’s controversial first-past-the-post electoral system as the SNP claimed it gives the Tories “free reign” to make massive cuts to public services north and south of the Border.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said the Labour leader should commit to replacing the system, which allowed David Cameron to win an overall majority in the Commons despite polling just under 37 per cent of the vote in last year’s General Election.

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IDS is gone, but ethos behind Budget remains

IDS is gone, but ethos behind Budget remains

 

George Osborne’s policy is all about a long-term political plan for himself, not the country, says Tommy Sheppard

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Airbnb website under pressure to remove holiday listings in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Tommy Sheppard, the SNP MP for Edinburgh East, is among those who have written to the chief executive of the Californian-based online company. He’s pointed out that the Israeli settlements where the homes are situated are illegal under international law.

“It is of deep concern that a company such as yours that prides itself as being a community, is showing such disregard for the communities in the Occupied Territories who are seeing their homes demolished for Israeli settlements to be built,” he wrote to Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky.

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Hunt challenged over junior doctors being lured from NHS to do fitness for work tests for DWP

Hunt challenged over junior doctors being lured from NHS to do fitness for work tests for DWP

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has challenged UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt to explain why the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) fitness for work test provider was using taxpayers’ money to entice frontline junior doctors away from the NHS with a massive salary.

Sheppard confronted Jeremy Hunt in the Commons yesterday over the fact that Maximus was offering £72,000 a year – significantly more than that paid to NHS junior doctors – to carry out controversial work capability assessments (WCA).

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The necessity of reinstating post-study work visas for international students

The necessity of reinstating post-study work visas for international students

Edinburgh MP Tommy Sheppard is working with the University of Edinburgh to urge the UK Home Office to reinstate a post-study work scheme for international students.

Scottish universities, including The University of Edinburgh and several Scottish government officials have warned against the tangible effects of removing post-study work schemes.

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Labour can only reclaim power in Scotland if the SNP f***s it up

Labour can only reclaim power in Scotland if the SNP f***s it up

 

Tommy Sheppard has a bee in his bonnet. The SNP MP for Edinburgh East is sat in his cramped parliamentary office, busy reeling off a series of gripes he harbours with Westminster.

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Tourist tax scheme is an open and shut suitcase

Tourist tax scheme is an open and shut suitcase

Edinburgh should have a tourist tax. A small levy on the hotel bill for visitors would help pay the cost of keeping our magnificent capital city going.

The city attracts around four million visitors per year. In 2014, there were 5.8 million bed nights in Edinburgh hotels (2.3 million domestic tourists and 3.5 million overseas tourists). Even if these were in shared rooms we’re talking nearly three million hotel rooms a year (not including B&Bs). If there was an average £2 levy on the cost of a hotel room (a modest two per cent of a £100 room), that would bring in at least £6 million a year – and that’s probably a serious underestimate.

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MP backs uni over rules which stop graduates staying

MP backs uni over rules which stop graduates staying

City MP Tommy Sheppard has backed a call by Edinburgh University for the reintroduction of post-study work visas to allow overseas students to stay and contribute to the Scottish economy for two years after they graduate.Read the full article in the Edinburgh Evening News 

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We Need to Debate BDS

We Need to Debate BDS

MP Tommy Sheppard has backed a targeted consumer boycott campaign to oppose the occupation of Palestine by Israel and to push for a fresh peace settlement.

Sheppard, the MP for Edinburgh East, said he “generally supports the BDS campaign” with a boycott focus on arms used in human rights abuses alongside goods produced from illegal settlements.

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Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
30 November 2017
Tommy's Blog
My work for you in Westminster
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. O...
Tommy Sheppard
23 November 2017
Tommy's Blog
My work for you in Westminster
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...
Tommy Sheppard
16 November 2017
Tommy's Blog
My work for you in Westminster
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 will be sharing regular updates as the Bill makes its way through parliament. As you may be aware, the Bill entered its committee stage this week in the House of Commons. That means MPs debate specific aspects of the B...
Tommy Sheppard
09 November 2017
My work for you in Edinburgh East
Tommy's Blog
Media
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 ea...
Tommy Sheppard
11 October 2017
Tommy's Blog
Articles
Media
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 ...