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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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 July 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media

We need to talk about democracy. The UK government recently hosted its first ever “National Democracy Week” – with no sense of irony.

We absolutely should be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the equalisation of voting ages for men and women. Nobody would argue with that.

Tommy Sheppard
21 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media
Brexit rumbles on. Last week the SNP walked out of parliament in protest at not being allowed to discuss House of Lords amendments that will seriously affect how we are governed. If we can’t have our say inside the chamber we’ll make our arguments outside.Meanwhile the UK government say we’re scaremongering. What power grab say the Tories? They claim that the Scottish government will get more powe...
Tommy Sheppard
15 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
Buckle up folks – here comes a bumper blog as this week saw the return of the EU Withdrawal Bill after its time in the Lords. Or, more accurately, we were back voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill given there was precious little time for any actual debate. Over two days we were supposed to debate and vote on 20 different changes to the Bill that the Lords had put forward.You’ll likely have seen and he...
Tommy Sheppard
19 May 2018
Tommy's Blog
Okay I know that it’s probably not the best time to try to start a discussion about the monarchy. With a popular prince wedding his celebrity sweetheart in a lavish event resplendent in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it might be best for dissidents like myself to keep our republican heads below the parapet.Then again, with the nation’s attention focused on the royals because of the wedding, t...
Tommy Sheppard
02 May 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media
This is a piece about the SNP’s constitutional review. Exciting, huh? Well, maybe not, but important all the same.I know – at least I hope – no-one joins a political party to debate its internal structure. And set against debates on Indy, Brexit and the World War III this is unlikely to get anyone’s political juices flowing. People are motivated by ideas and feelings, powerful emotions that propel...