The EU Withdrawal Bill entered its committee stage this month in the House of Commons. As it is a constitutional bill it is considered by a committee of the whole house – in other words all MPs consider it in the main chamber. While hundreds of amendments were tabled, only a few are selected for a vote each day. There will be eight days of debate in total, three of which took place in November.
On Day 3 I called for the UK Government to think again on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. Watch my full speech here. Frustratingly the DUP are earning their keep and ensuring the Tory Government haven't been defeated on any votes as yet. Not helped by the Labour Party abstaining on several issues.
The Scottish Affairs Select Committee report on the devolution of powers following Brexit was published last weekend. This report was approved by all parties on the committee (including the Tories) and raised serious concerns about the impact of the EU Withdrawal Bill on Scotland’s devolution settlement. It called for the UK Government to take urgent action to improve the Bill and provide clarity about the implications of their legislation for Scotland. You can read the full report here.
I’ll be speaking again on Monday on the effects on the Bill on devolution.
You might be forgiven for having missed the budget this autumn. It wasn't exactly a show stopper. And the Royal engagement proved a distraction as we came to vote on it. Fundamentally the UK Government are continuing along the austerity route despite 7 years' worth of evidence that it isn't working and with no consideration of the impact of Brexit. You can watch my contribution to the Debate here.
I've been trying to get information on how many civil servants are working on Brexit and how much it will cost. But still no clear answer at Cabinet Office questions earlier this month. You can watch it here.
The Scottish Affairs Committee continues to take evidence on a range of inquiries. We visited Selkirk where it was great to hear from local young people about what they think the priorities for the committee should be. We also took a trip to Stirling to take evidence on sustainable employment in Scotland. Keith Brown attended from the Scottish Government and I'm proud to say Scotland is leading the way in the living wage. Of course they could make it a legal requirement if employment law was devolved. But the UK Government are still resisting.
We put it in our manifesto in 2016, we won that election, and if we are taken out of the EU against the will of the electorate, then we have a clear mandate to consult the people of Scotland on independence. You can watch the final part of my speech from the debate on a second independence referendum here.
I wrote to the PM to demand the UK Government challenges Israel on plans to demolish West Bank village #Susiya. A two week reprieve simply isn't good enough.
The House of Lords themselves have produce a report calling for numbers to be reduced to 600 and terms limited to 15 years. I led a Westminster Hall debate on it and was clear in my position that it’s an out of date institution that's unrepresentative, undemocratic and in urgent need of reform. Watch my speech here.
I also used my PMQ on the Lords report. Damien Green (filling in for Theresa May) gave a perfect example of not answering the question - illustrating all that is wrong with PMQs. – you can see it here.
I was happy to offer my support to the Food Foundation on the bill on food insecurity measurement. No one should go hungry.
This week we had the SNP's first Opposition day debates since June's election. We focused on WASPI and EU Nationals. 3.1 million WASPI women have waited too long for the pension - the UK Government should have taken action well before now. Only one of the 13 Scottish Tories broke ranks and voted with us. The UK Government once again choosing to abstain on opposition party motions.
I was very pleased to be able to support
#givingtuesday. Feel good about yourself and help others by supporting a charity that's important to you.
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.
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?
Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party