Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

January Newsletter - Parliamentary Business

January Newsletter - Parliamentary Business

Happy New Year to you and welcome to my January Newsletter.  Before parliament returns next week, it's a good opportunity to reflect on what happened in December and on the year ahead.  I don't think any of us could have predicted the political events of 2016 and I'm struggling to make any predictions about 2017. What is clear is that Brexit will continue to dominate in Westminster. Yesterday's resignation of the UK's ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, and his scathing comments since show that even the highest level of civil servants don't know what Brexit actually means. It's going to be an interesting few months ahead.

December saw two Private Members Bills (PMBs) from SNP Members of Parliament. The first was from Mhairi Black as she attempted to change the cruel system of sanctions in the UK benefit system. Unfortunately the bill was blocked much to the frustration of our group. We weren't even looking to scrap sanctions all together (unfortunately that can’t be done in a PMB) but the Bill would have made it compulsory for Job Centre advisors to take a claimant’s personal circumstances into account before issuing a sanction.

There was much more positive news 2 weeks later when Eilidh Whiteford became the first SNP MP to ever get this far in changing UK law. Her PMB focused on getting the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention and thus taking a big step towards ending violence against women and children. Congrats to Eilidh and the campaigners who worked so hard to get the Bill past this most challenging first stage. 

There was an urgent debate on the humanitarian crisis in Syria which many constituents have written to me about and which worries me greatly. You can watch my contribution to the debate here.

It’s my role as Cabinet Spokesperson to hold the Government to account on all matters Cabinet related – trying to improve Government systems for everyone in the UK. Last month I raised a legitimate concern about Lords members filibustering to stop changes to the ridiculous system of hereditary peer by-elections. In response the obsessed Tories once again fail to answer the question but instead talk about the Indy Ref. You can watch it here

Many of you will know that I sit on the Standards Committee. Last month the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards launched a review on the Code of Conduct by which MPs are required to abide. One of the topics under debate is second, and subsequent, jobs. I have made a detailed submission to the review arguing for a five-point plan to regulate external employment. I’m not saying that MPs can’t have other jobs, just that there should be limits - you can read more on my views in the Edinburgh Evening News.

A highlight this month was popping into the Cats Protection Christmas reception. I was delighted to be able to give my support and will be following up on some of the issues they raised. The giant kitten made a great photo too.

Just before the festive break, The Scottish Government set out the Scottish Government’s proposals to protect Scotland’s interests following the EU referendum.You can read more about the proposals here.

January Newsletter - Constituency Business
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Friday, 20 October 2017

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 October 2017
Tommy's Blog
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 ...
Tommy Sheppard
03 October 2017
My work for you in Edinburgh East
Tommy's Blog

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.

Tommy Sheppard
02 October 2017
Tommy's Blog
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 an...
Tommy Sheppard
22 September 2017
Tommy's Blog
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 campaig...
Tommy Sheppard
10 September 2017
Tommy's Blog
Workings of Westminster

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.