It is incredible how much can change in a month in the world of politics. On the 13th March the UK Government was visibly shocked when Nicola Sturgeon demanded that people in Scotland be allowed to choose whether they wanted to live under a Tory Brexit deal or decide things for themselves. As a result, Theresa May delayed the serving of Article 50 by a fortnight and it took a full 72 hours to get any response from the UK Government. When it came, the response of “now is not the time” was hardly impressive. No-one is arguing that now is the time anyway! The Scottish Government are talking about 18-24 months when the Brexit deal is done but before it is too late to take a different path. I used my Evening News column to put forward the case for having a choice and making it clear there is a cast iron mandate to consult the people, read it here.
This month Westminster was the target of the criminal acts of a loner who decided to attack innocent people going about their daily lives on Westminster Bridge before attempting to enter the parliamentary estate and killing PC Keith Palmer. I had just left the estate and my staff were all in Edinburgh but I want to thank all those who sent kind messages on the day. My thoughts remain with those who have been injured and the friends and families of those who lost their lives.
Last week, following Theresa May's statement on the triggering of Article 50, I asked the Prime Minister to name one suggestion or request from the Scottish Government regarding Brexit which she had taken on board. Just one. You can see the answer here. So much for an agreed UK approach. The truth is Theresa May is doing what's best for the Tory party, not what's best for either the UK or Scotland.
I sat on the delegated legislative committee on repairs to Buckingham Palace. It took 13 minutes to agree £360 million funding without any debate in the chamber (obviously I voted against it). Yet another example of our wonderful democracy.
It seems ages ago but Philip Hammond produced his first budget at the start of the month only to do a U-turn within hours on National Insurance increases for the self-employed. The fact that he now has a two billion pound hole in his budget and no-one cares, tells you all you need to know about the unreal nature of politics at the moment. After all, why get worked up about two billion when we’re all about to go over an economic cliff edge called Brexit.
Westminster's All Party Group on Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is holding an inquiry into access to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people with MND. They want to gather evidence of the experiences of as many people with MND as possible to help improve the system. If you, or someone you know, is able to help please take part in their survey. You've got until 9th April. For further information about the APPG’s inquiry, please see here.
I also continue to give me support to a number of campaigns and organisations who visit Westminster to talk to MPs about their cause. I was delighted to support Linda Robson and Marie Curie UK with the 2017 Daffodil appeal.