Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

March Newsletter - Westminster


The work of the Scottish Affairs committee continues apace. This month we held a further evidence session on the immigration needs of Scotland hearing from David Mundell and the Minister for Immigration, Caroline Noakes. Shockingly, the Scottish Government compares to Lincolnshire County Council in the Minister's eyes. See the short exchange on Pete Wishart's Facebook page

The SNP had two Private Members Bills this month. I had a catch up with both colleague Angus Brendan MacNeil (watch here) and Stewart McDonald (watch here) the day before. PMBs are notoriously difficult to get through Parliament so it was great news that Angus' Bill on Refugee Family Reunification has passed to the next stage. 

The situation in Afrin remains deeply concerning. The FCO needs to stand up to Erdogan and defend Kurdish people under attack. I pressed the UK Government on the situation and you can watch it here.

Last week there was an emergency debate on the EU referendum and alleged breaches of electoral law. To be clear, the allegation is that senior Tory cabinet ministers were aware of the Vole Leave campaign conspiring to break the law on spending limits during the referendum – it is incredibly serious. I summed up on behalf of the SNP and you can watch my full contribution here.

As Brexit continues, it dominates almost every question time. It still wasn't clear whether the Secretary of State has abandoned the idea of getting consent of the Scottish Parliament but it's very clear he's out of the loop. You can see the question here.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was also unable to answer my question on the Irish Border. Legitimate questions deserve proper answers not the same old Tory rhetoric. You can watch the exchange here.

I visited the much talked about secret Brexit reading rooms earlier in the month. Due to their secrecy, I wasn't allowed to take my phone in so here's my take from outside the building.

My caseworkers have had, and still have, significant difficulties getting through to the MP support line at UK Visas and Immigration to get answers for constituents. I wrote to the Minister 4 months ago, chased it up with a parliamentary question and still no response. As a result, I raised a point of order in the House - watch it here.

At Cabinet Office questions 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. Watch it here.

The campaign to ban the sale and use of electronic shock collars saw a development this month as the DEFRA launched a consultation. Great news. Except it is only a consultation on England. The UK Government is the only administration that can ban their sale across the UK so I will continue to press them on this and have written again to Michael Gove. You can still sign the petition here.

As always I like to make time to support the many good causes that come to Westminster to talk about their campaigns. This month I attended the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats and the Animal Aid campaign to ban cruel cages for game birds.

The Electoral Commission have now produced guidance on how people can register to vote anonymously. Find out more about how to register to vote anonymously here - or contact my office for help.

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Monday, 25 June 2018

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
21 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
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
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...
Tommy Sheppard
26 April 2018
Tommy's Blog
Since the 30th March Palestinians in Gaza have been peacefully protesting. They will continue until the 15th May - the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the name Palestinians have for the events that displaced them from their homes when Israel was created.The protests are billed as the “Great Return March” to make the point that it’s time to leave Gaza and go back to where they came from. But try tha...