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.

Urgent Question - Continuity Bill
March Newsletter - Constituency


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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
25 April 2019
Tommy's Blog
Forty years ago in the sweltering summer of 1979 I got myself arrested at Torness. I was one of hundreds protesting against the construction of the nuclear power station. For my efforts I got to spend a night in the cells at Dunbar nick.As the then Thatcher government was keen to point out - we didn't stop Torness. But as I'm keen to point out it was a tipping point. The time when nuclear energy l...
Tommy Sheppard
29 March 2019
Tommy's Blog
For many months the government has wielded a number of sticks to beat MPs into supporting its Withdrawal Agreement. It might be bad, they argue, but the alternative is worse. Remainers have been threatened with no deal. Leavers with no Brexit.The latest big stick is the threat of having to participate in the European parliamentary elections. To avoid this the Government (and the EU’s) new deadline...
Tommy Sheppard
28 March 2019
Tommy's Blog
So we’re not leaving the European Union tomorrow after all. As the Brexiters cancel their street parties and put away the bunting the rest of us should think carefully about what to do with the reprieve.This week started with parliament voting to take control of the process from government. A move without precedent. In truth, we were forced into it. What else can you do when faced with a governmen...
Tommy Sheppard
28 February 2019
Tommy's Blog

Four weeks ago I was worried about writing this column on the eve of the last major parliamentary debate on Brexit. Anything could have happened, rendering my speculation obsolete by the time you read it. I shouldn’t have fretted. Anything could have happened but nothing did.

Here I am again. Groundhog day. It’s Tuesday. There’s a big debate tomorrow.

Tommy Sheppard
31 January 2019
Tommy's Blog

Tuesday. Another day spent discussing Brexit. Another day of my life I’m not getting back.

We are no further forward. As the clock ticks down to exit it’s only fair to ask: What the hell is Theresa May playing at?