Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

March Newsletter - Parliamentary Business

March Newsletter - Parliamentary Business

I want to start this month's newsletter with a massive congratulations to my colleague Eilidh Whiteford who has worked so hard on her Private Members Bill. History has been made with the first piece of SNP legislation at Westminster as Parliament agreed to ratify the Istanbul Convention. There's still a way to go but this is a big step for those of us who want to see an end to violence against women. 

We began the month with the the Committee Stage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The SNP group tabled 50 amendments to the legislation to ensure we have the right financial and social protections in place before the UK begins the process of leaving the EU. Despite our efforts the Bill was passed without a single amendment from the SNP (or any other party).

When the substantive vote took place we still did not have the full details from the Prime Minister on what the arrangements would be for workers’ rights, EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU, or the impact on the economy. It’ll not surprise you that the SNP group therefore voted against the triggering of Article 50.

Later in the month I’m hosting a public meeting in the constituency titled “Scotland and Brexit: Where Next?” with panelists Nicola McEwan and Simon Pia. It’s on Saturday 11th March at 2.30pm in Edinburgh Central Methodist Church.  Book your tickets here.

I'm proud to support Arthritis Research UK's Work Matters to Me campaign. It calls for the Government to better support people living with long-term conditions such as arthritis, so that they can find and remain in suitable work. Find out more here.

Every 6 weeks, I get to ask the UK Government a question related to the Cabinet Office. This month I focussed on their obsession with ID-ing voters rather than getting them more involved. It’s definitely time to invest in the technology to allow people to cast their ballot easily and securely online. You can watch the question here.

Glad to support the RSPCA's Protect Primates Campaign - working to ban the sale of primates as pets. Currently around 5,000 such animals are kept in unsuitable conditions across the UK. Pleased to hear the Scottish Government are leading the way with plans for a new bill for Scotland.

I was proud to sponsor this month’s back bench debate on Illegal Israeli Settlements in the Occupied West Bank. While it was frustrating that I only had got three minutes to argue for the motion I was delighted that the motion was supported by MPs from all parties and in the end was agreed unanimously. I hope the Government will take note of the strength of feeling and take action to stop Israel's continued development of illegal settlements. You can watch my speech here.

I spent some of the February recess visiting the West Bank with the Council for Arab-British Understanding (www.caabu.org) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (www.map.org.uk). It was incredibly useful to get an up to date understanding of what’s happening on the ground – you can read my blog about the trip on my website.

March Newsletter - Constituency Business
Business rates response was democracy in action
 

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Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
30 March 2017
Tommy's Blog
Articles
Media
There have been some daft arguments put against allowing people in Scotland to have a choice about the future of their country. You have no mandate Ruth Davidson tells Nicola Sturgeon. Really? Did the SNP not mention this in their manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election last year? Let’s check. Maybe it’s buried away somewhere. No wait. Page 24 has a whole section on a second referendum. It...
Tommy Sheppard
11 March 2017
Tommy's Blog
I’ve been denounced – again! This time I appear to have incurred the wrath of the Catholic Church in Scotland’s hierarchy. A front page report in yesterday’s Scottish Catholic Observer claims I have a “plan” to outlaw Catholic schools and that my views are “chillingly intolerant”. Sadly due to the deterioration of Scottish journalism once great newspapers like The Scotsman have simply rehashed the...
Tommy Sheppard
19 February 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
The hills around Jerusalem were drenched in sun the last time I was here. It brought out their significance and history. This week, though, the Holy Land has been visited by a Scottish winter. As I peer through the steamed up windows of our VW Transporter, it’s decidedly dreich out there. I’m here on a parliamentary delegation to see if the political mood matches the weather. The trip is organised...
Tommy Sheppard
30 January 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
I write from the train, speeding towards London to begin another week traipsing the corridors of impotence. This week, as many, will be wall to wall Brexit as we debate the terms on which we should be leaving the EU, and try to protect Scotland’s position amid the chaos. But something else is dominating the international agenda and consumes the imagination of every person who dares hope for a bett...
Tommy Sheppard
26 January 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
You’ll not be surprised to hear that ever since the UK voted to leave the European Union, I have been receiving lots of letters and emails from constituents raising their concerns. While there have been a couple of requests asking me to respect the UK wide result and vote to trigger article 50, the vast majority have asked me to do all I can to protect Scotland’s place in Europe. That’s not a surp...