Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

March Newsletter - Westminster

Bird-cages-2018

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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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
20 July 2018
Tommy's Blog
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In 2016, Nicola Sturgeon announced that there would be a Growth Commission to explore Scotland’s economy and the potential that might occur after Independence. Andrew Wilson chaired the commission and in May this year they published their final report – you can read it in full here.There have been many commentaries on the report, from different political persuasions. Below is my contribution – wri...
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Tommy's Blog
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This month in parliament we celebrated the 90th anniversary of all women being allowed the vote with the passing of the 1928 Equal Franchise Act. This built on the Act a decade before which gave some women – those over 30 and either married or property owners – the vote. Every time we mark these historical landmarks I am struck not by how long ago they were, but by how recent.The 1920s were an age...
Tommy Sheppard
11 July 2018
Tommy's Blog
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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
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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...