Another UK Government Minister fails to answer the question they're asked. Today it was the turn of the Minister for Northern Ireland.
You may be aware that last week the Scottish Government implemented an effective ban on electronic shock collars for dogs. These are barbaric devices that have no place in the training of dogs. I congratulate Ben Macpherson MSP on his campaign to get this action. However, the Scottish Government have one hand tied behind their back as powers over the sale of such devices is reserved to Westminster.So Deidre Brock and I are taking this campaign to the Tories in Westminster and you can help. We have a paper public petition on the go (I can then present it in the House) – you can sign it in my office and those of Deidre and Ben. You can also pick up copies of it to get your friends, family, colleagues etc to add their names. An online petition has also been launched and you can sign this here. Read more about it in my Evening News column.
Ban Shock Collars
I voted against spending billions on doing up Westminster but didn't get a chance to speak in the debate. Here’s some of what I would have said.
It was back to business with Brexit this month for the last two days of debate on the Bill before it heads to the Lords. Before Christmas I secured a commitment from David Mundell that we would have Government amendments on Clause 11 - the power grab of devolved powers going to Westminster – at Report stage (watch it here). But, in another broken promise, none were forthcoming. The Bill passed and is now with the unelected Lords. Read my latest blog here.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
I asked the Minister if the government would require the Electoral Commission to disclose donations for parties in Northern Ireland from before 2015. This follows allegations of dark money from the Constitutional Research Council, which is linked to the Scottish Tories, to the DUP. As usual, no straight answer.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is unable to answer my question on the Irish Border. Legitimate questions deserve proper answers not the same old Tory rhetoric.