This Week #16

3rd May 2016

Monday (25th April 2016)


Tuesday (26th April 2016)

On Tuesday, Marion had the usual busy day of meetings, parliamentary business and whip duties.

Wednesday (27th April 2016)

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday Marion quizzed David Cameron on why the promises made by the Tories and Labour during the referendum to protect steel and shipbuilding jobs were broken:

The Prime Minister and his Government did next to nothing to save the Scottish steel industry; it was left to the Scottish Government to do that. The UK Government are now breaking the promises made by Tories and Labour to protect the Scottish shipbuilding industry. Why does the Prime Minister think that Scottish jobs are so expendable?

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister chose not to answer the question asked, instead continuing the peddle the inaccurate claim that the Scottish Government chose not to use Scottish steel in the construction of the Forth Road Bridge:

Frankly, the Scottish Government and the UK Government should work together. One thing we should work together on is procurement. It is worth asking how much Scottish steel was in the Forth road bridge—zero! None! Absolutely nothing! Yes. What a contrast with the warships we are building, which of course we would not be building if we had an independent Scotland. We back the steel industry with actions as well as words.

This was unfortunately a factually incorrect response from Mr Cameron. No Scottish steel firm made any bids for the steel contracts as confirmed by Transport Scotland. The Dalzell plant only makes steel plate; it is not a steel fabricator. However, 300 Scottish firms benefited by being awarded 76% of the subcontracts for the FRC.

Later in the day, Alex Salmond MP decided to raise a point of order in the chamber in direct response to the Prime Minister’s inaccurate response to Marion’s question:

On a point of order, Mr Speaker—a wider point of order —would it be possible for us to develop in our procedures an opportunity for the Prime Minister rapidly to correct any misleading impressions that he inadvertently gives during Prime Minister’s Question Time? For example, I know that he would be incredibly anxious today, following his general attack on the procurement policies of the Scottish Government with specific reference to the Forth crossing, to acknowledge that, in fact, 45% of the total orders, which amounted to £540 million, were placed with Scottish companies.

I know that the Prime Minister would also want to correct the misleading impression that there was no Scottish steel in the contract by acknowledging that steel from the Dalzell plate mill was used in the girders at either end of the bridge. And I fully understand that he would want to acknowledge that the reason why there was no Scottish bidder for the main subcontract was the closure of the Ravenscraig steel mill by a previous Tory Government in the 1990s, which removed our capacity to supply such steel.

I know, Mr Speaker, that the provision of such an opportunity would swallow up the entire time of the House, given the many mistakes that this Prime Minister makes, but in view of the clarity of this particular example, perhaps you could consider my new, innovative prime ministerial correction procedure.

Thursday (28th April 2016)

Over the past few weeks, Marion has received a number of heartfelt emails from constituents regarding the closure of the Autism One Stop Shop in Motherwell – and on Thursday, the Motherwell & Wishaw MP raised their concerns in Parliament.

The OSS provides invaluable support to those with autism and their families and it is essential that this service remains. Marion urges North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils to fund the scheme to aid these vulnerable families and will go on fighting for this valuable service.

Friday (29th April 2016)