Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

The Corridors of Impotence

Yesterday I tweeted that I was heading back for the last week of term in the corridors of impotence. Little did I know when I said that how clear a demonstration we would have of that impotence last night.

So I spent my time on the train preparing to speak in a debate on the abuse MPs and candidates received, particularly online, during the General Election campaign. Yet I arrive in London to hear we might not get to the debate.

Indeed, it was pushed out by a debate on Private Members Bills. Now, to be fair, I think this debate was probably more timely and relevant to our constituents and I’m sure that the debate on abuse will be rearranged. It’s the way this Tory Government is using the antiquated procedures of the House of Commons to stop any actual business taking place that is driving me up the wall.

Private Members Bills are a good thing. They are the only way backbenchers have any chance to get something on the statute books – especially those in opposition. Last year Eilidh Whiteford made history by being the first SNP MP to achieve successful legislation in Westminster with her PMB on ratifying the Istanbul Convention.

There are numerous flaws with the system – only a handful of MPs get drawn out the hat to put one forward, they’re held on Fridays meaning lots of folk have constituency commitments, only the top 5 have any realistic chance of becoming law and they can be talked out as Tory Philip Davies has demonstrated time and time again. But at least it’s a chance.

So, in their wisdom, they have set up a 2 year parliamentary term. There’ll be no Queen’s Speech in 2018 and that means no Private Members Bill ballot and no additional days for PMBs to be debated. In two years there will be 13 days for these Bills. And it’s hardly as if the one Queen’s Speech we’ve had was bursting with legislation.

It seems the idea of progressive, opposition legislation getting through really is terrifying the Tories.

It's Brexit Again
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Monday, 11 December 2017

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
30 November 2017
My work for you in Edinburgh East
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I used my Evening News column this month to talk about fireworks following the extreme antisocial behaviour on bonfire night. I've also written to the Minister asking for the UK Government to toughen up licensing laws. And if they aren't willing to do that, devolve power over fireworks to the Scottish Parliament so they can act. Read the full article here.

 

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I know how difficult it can be to not only keep up with what is happening as Brexit proceeds, but to understand the antiquated political systems that make up the UK parliament. So I will be sharing regular updates as the Bill makes its way through parliament. As you may be aware, the Bill entered its committee stage this week in the House of Commons. That means MPs debate specific aspects of the B...
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My work for you in Edinburgh East
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Media
All over Scotland last weekend families enjoyed watching the fireworks.  The spectacle of fire and colour brought happiness to many – young and old. The same was true in Edinburgh. All over the city – and especially at Meadowbank – majestic displays thrilled the crowds.But in a few parts of the city a tiny minority set out to cause havoc and intimidate local people. In a few places in north and ea...