THIS WEEK: 11-17 JANUARY

17th January 2020

Following my appointment as the SNP’s Westminster Disabilities spokesperson the week before, I’ve been settling into my new role by doing research into the various schemes and groups who assist people with disabilities lead full lives.

From casework to campaigns, since 2015 I have been fighting for people with disabilities – particularly against the Tories’ punishing welfare regime which has been attacking the incomes of the most vulnerable for a decade.

On Thursday, I took part in the Queen’s Speech debate on Health and Social Care. I got the chance to highlight that Scotland’s NHS – run by the SNP Scottish Government – has the highest satisfaction rate in the UK and that we are spending record amounts.

However, our NHS must be protected and I will continue to push a bill which would ensure our NHS could not be up for sale in any future trade deal. We must keep Trump’s hands off our NHS!

In Parliament, Nicky Morgan, who resigned as an MP at the last election, and Zac Goldsmith, an ex-Tory minister who lost his seat at the election, have been sworn into the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords.

As per usual, the Tories are stuffing their friends into lucrative and influential posts. It doesn’t matter if they lose their seats or don’t even bother to face their constituents, Boris Johnson will look after them while austerity slashes incomes and people work for poverty wages.

While Boris Johnson stuffs his pals into lifetime positions, he responded to Nicola Sturgeon’s request for Section 30 powers so that it’s Scotland who decides its own future – not Boris Johnson.

The people of Scotland have expressed their right to self-determination in the 2016 Scottish election, 2017 General Election, 2019 EU elections, and the 2019 General Election.

The clearest mandate was given in December when the SNP won a higher percentage of seats and votes in Scotland than the Tories did across the UK. There is a stronger mandate for an independence referendum than there is for a Tory government.

Instead of giving a positive case for the UK, Tories – and Labour – are trying to block Scotland having a say.

Whether you voted yes or no, leave or remain, and whether you have changed your mind since, we must protect Scotland’s right to decide our own future – not have it decided for us.

Locally, I received confirmation that work is due to start on the Shieldmuir Park and Ride. Following almost a year of meetings and correspondence to Taylor Wimpey and Network Rail regarding the delays to the installation of the Shieldmuir Park and Ride facility, I am glad that progress is being made and work will begin soon.

This site has been a source of much frustration and anger to the residents who have been waiting almost ten years for this promised facility. I share residents’ anger. These works are long overdue.

Promises have been made to investigate extending the site and residents have my assurances that I will continue to press for this.

I also met with Lanarkshire’s new Superintendent, Gordon McCreadie. raise with him the issues constituents have raised with me. Our Police are doing a fantastic job and deserve our thanks for their hard work.

Peoples’ Policing priorities for local communities have been anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping. I have personally noticed an increase in the number of issues with fly-tipping since North Lanarkshire Council ended their free uplift services. We all deserve to live in clean communities. NLC must review this policy.

We also discussed the increase in call-outs to vulnerable people and people experiencing mental health issues. It was reassuring to hear about the mental health training our officers are receiving so they can properly assist people.

I also got to hear about the work Police officers are doing in our communities – especially on coercive control and domestic violence. If you’re affected, you are not alone. Reach out.

People affected by domestic abuse can call Scottish Women’s Aid on 0131 226 6606 or Refuge on 0808 2000 247.

People affected by mental health can call Samaritans on 116 123 or Scottish Association for Mental Health on 0141 530 1000.