Monday (25th January 2016)
On Monday, Marion met with Ziggi Shipper, Susan Pollack and Janine Webber – Holocaust survivors and members of the Holocaust Educational Trust – during the Education Select Committee‘s report into Holocaust education.
The Holocaust Educational Trust aim to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today to prevent genocide and human rights abuses.
Marion also met with members of the End Child Poverty campaign who were at Westminster to ask MPs and Peers to protect vulnerable children by voting against changes to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.
In the evening, Westminster Hall was the scene for an adjournment debate secured by Marion on the changes to the pensions of the Strathclyde Mining Group. During the debate, Marion was able to question Harriet Baldwin, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, on the changes and the role the Financial Ombudsman has played in the transition.
You can read Marion’s speech in its entirety and the response from Ms Baldwin online here.
Tuesday (26th January 2016)
Tuesday was a busy day of parliamentary activity for Marion, including briefings, whip duties, and the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Steel and Metal Related Industry Group. In the evening, Marion was present at the SNP Group’s weekly meeting.
Wednesday (27th January 2016)
Marion’s Wednesday began with the usual weekly meeting of the Education Select Committee in the morning, during which the committee discussed Sir Martin Narey‘s review of children’s residential care. This was followed by an afternoon of meetings and preparations for future parliamentary business.
Back home in the constituency, Marion’s team delivered donations on her behalf to the Lanarkshire Basics Foodbank at the Motherwell Baptist Church. The team also held a two hour surgery at the church, in order to help people with any issues they may have been having.
Staff at the foodbank said the most common reason for using their services was as a result of benefit sanctions which continue to leave people without enough to feed themselves and, in a number of cases, their children. Marion is keen to make surgeries at local foodbanks a common occurrence in order to help those who are forced to use such services in whatever way she can.
Thursday (28th January 2016)
On Thursday, Marion took the opportunity to table three questions over the course of the day, beginning with raising the subject of the recent Volkswagen scandal with Mr Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport.
Marion asked Mr McLoughlin:
What discussions has the Secretary of State or the Vehicle Certification Agencyhad with Volkswagen to ensure that the UK taxpayer is not out of pocket for the re-testing of Volkswagen vehicles following the recent scandal?
The Secretary of State for Transport’s response was:
I refer the hon. Lady to the response I gave to Dr Cameron. Discussions on this particular matter are ongoing. I have taken the issue up in meetings with Volkswagen, which I believe appeared before the Transport Select Committee earlier this week.
The Motherwell and Wishaw MP was also keen to question Mr Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Transport, about the high-speed rail network.
Marion posed the following to Mr Goodwill:
The Minister will recall that he was previously asked by my hon. Friend Alan Brown about the potential for increased journey times north of Crewe to Scotland under the current proposals for HS2. At the time, he suggested that upgrades on the line were already underway. Therefore, will he now commit to providing the Scottish Government with a definitive timetable for those upgrades?
Mr Goodwill replied:
I can tell the hon. Lady that HS2 will deliver increased benefits to Scotland. From day one, journey times from Glasgow will be reduced from four hours 31 minutes to three hours 56 minutes. Indeed, the full Y network will benefit Scotland to the tune of £3 billion. Interestingly, she does not mention Nicola Sturgeon’s own bullet train, the Glasgow-Edinburgh scheme, which she announced as infrastructure Minister in 2012. It appears that Scotland’s First Minister has now given her bullet train the bullet.
Later in the day, Marion attended the Westminster Hall debate on in-work poverty, giving a summing up on the issue which can be read in full here.
Marion’s contribution to the debate concluded with the following:
This debate has shown that, again, there are real issues that Opposition Members are very keen that the Government should change track on. Whether they will listen I doubt, but it is very important for our constituents that the Government understand the real damage that they are doing to families, especially children and women, with this move. To ask a family to lose £1,300 to £1,600 a year when they are already on minimum wage and have no hope of getting more money is nothing short of disgraceful. It is totally abhorrent, and I hope that the Government will think again about introducing the cuts that they are proposing in April this year.