After the summer recess, Parliament began with a statement on the UK leaving the EU. I had hoped that this would start to provide some answers as to what Brexit will actually mean but that proved elusive. After a few hours of bobbing up and down on the green seats I was able to ask about alternative arrangements for Scotland. It's my view that the appetite for a 2nd independence referendum will in large part depend on the actions of the British Government in the coming months. You watch a video of the question and the response I received here.
The Government have approved the development of development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. I first got involved in politics as a school boy campaigning against the nuclear reprocessing plant, Windscale, on the Cumbrian coast. I joined Friends of the Earth and became a passionate advocate for renewable energy. It's hard to believe that 40 years later I’m an MP and arguing exactly the same thing. You can watch my question on the Government's decision here.
This month saw the TUC hold their annual conference in Brighton. I joined them for a fringe event organised by Make Votes Matter on electoral reform: Proportional Representation: Uniting against minority rule. I was part of a cross party panel where we discussed the importance of trade unions supporting a proportional electoral system and what campaigns they can actually undertake
In Parliament there are regular briefings and campaign launches from a range of charities and organisations. This month I was pleased to show support for women affected by breast cancer by dressing up in pink in aid of Breast Cancer Now. I’d encourage you to take part in the UK’s biggest, brightest and pinkest fundraiser, wear it pink, on Friday 21 October. I also attended the launch event for a new public awareness campaign by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to target the growing problem of the illicit and cruel UK puppy trade. You can find out more about the campaign here.
My colleagues Mhairi Black and Ian Blackford took a report on Women’s Pensions to Downing Street last week. The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) groups have worked tirelessly to campaign for the introduction of fair transitional measures, but the UK Government has refused to act. The SNP’s independently researched report reveals that there are five options currently available to the UK Government that would allow them to reverse their mistakes and the research has found that all this could be done at a fraction of the cost claimed by the UK Government. For £8 billion, as opposed to the £30 billion predicted by the UK Government, we could to return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act – which would go some way to ending the gross injustice served to these women and would help to alleviate pensioner poverty. You can read more and get the full report here.