This Week #45

27th February – 5th March 2017

On Monday, Marion was back to London for another busy week as the Member of Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw.

On Tuesday, Marion undertook a busy day of parliamentary duties, meetings, and briefings, as well as speaking during the debate on Intergenerational Fairness in the Chamber:

Wednesday brought with it the usual Education Select Committee and Prime Minister’s Questions, as well as a chance for Marion to meet Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs as part of the Marie Curie ‘Make Every Daffodil Count’ campaign – helping provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MP encourages local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug, Spar and Poundworld stores, during March. Morrisons supermarkets will also be holding GDA fundraising collections on 10, 11 & 12 March.

The charity is also calling on more people to help with local collections. Volunteering a couple hours of your time will make such a difference to the care and support that Marie Curie can provide.” For more information about volunteering for a local collection call 0800 304 7025 or

On Thursday, Marion delivered a fantastic speech for International Women’s Day, drawing both laughter and reflection:

I have been absolutely inspired by what I have heard this afternoon. In fact, I have rewritten my speech a good deal as I have been sitting here, but I am going to do the one that I originally started with. When I was asked to take part in the debate, I was also asked whether I could give the perspective of an older woman. I resisted for all of about 10 seconds, because I have now fully embraced my age.

A mother gives her child the best future she possibly can. She teaches her children what her mother taught her. My mother was born in 1919 and was an intelligent, caring woman who only wanted what was best for her three daughters, but she was raised in a time when men ruled. One of her favourite expressions to me was, “Marion, hen, don’t argue with your father. Just know that you’re right.” I could never take that advice and I frequently argued with my father, but I could only actually do that when only he and I were there, because he still had to be seen as the man of the house, and as untouchable and unarguable with it.

My husband was raised by his mother and four older sisters, although women are still a complete mystery to him. His mother insisted that George did not have to do any housework. Why should he? He had four sisters; I have heard frequently over the past 46 years how they felt about that. Many years later, he actually said to our daughter, “Rachel, why haven’t you tidied up?” My daughter said, “Why haven’t you asked my brothers that?” And he said, “Because you’re a girl.” I am not denigrating my husband—I actually asked him whether it was alright to tell these stories, because he knew I was going to do it anyway—but I just want to point out how much progress has been made in this regard. My husband would be horrified and absolutely heartbroken if his granddaughters did not receive equal opportunities and pay, and equality across the board. This is how progress has been made. It has not been easy and it is still ongoing work, but we have made progress in the Fellows household.

I have personally been discriminated against in my lifetime. I secured an exciting new job setting up jobcentres across the east coast of Scotland in 1974. When I phoned to confirm the final arrangements for starting, I mentioned I was pregnant and was told, “Goodbye.” I never started that job. It is vital that the kinds of tests that I had to face are never, ever revisited. Although there are laws to protect us, it is attitudes that matter, and attitudes have to change.

When I started working, I actually got equal pay with the men I worked alongside in Midlothian County Council. However, when I was a councillor in 2012, before I entered this place, I found myself on a member-officer working group on equal pay. The women on North Lanarkshire Council who did the best and worst jobs—home support assistants, lollipop women and all that—had fought for 10 years, but only when they went to a woman lawyer, Carol Fox, was their claim finally made. That should not happen.

I realise that I do not have much time left, but the one thing I want to say is that this is not about me, my family or the UK. I went to last night, and I want to say, here and now, that I fully support its “Poverty is Sexist” campaign. It is vital that we educate women across the world. I quote the African proverb:

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family” and a nation. Let us do that. Please Minister, let us make sure that there is absolutely no cut to what we give to women internationally.

Marion was back in the constituency on Friday, hosting her monthly surgeries in her Dalziel Building office. Beforehand, though, Marion attended the Dementia Friends Training session at Alzheimer Scotland to meet the volunteers and trainers helping those suffering from Dementia in our local communities.

Marion was also able to take the opportunity on Friday to announce her newest initiative – joining the Lanarkshire Big Lottery Team to host a Funding Event later in the month.

On Saturday, Marion was present at Wishaw Library for another drop-in surgery, before heading to Edinburgh for the Scottish Government’s International Women’s Day celebrations.


This Week #41

23rd – 29th January 2017

Monday saw a return to London after the weekend as Marion travelled to Parliament for a week of meetings, briefings, and debates.

On Tuesday, Marion attended a number of meetings as well as welcoming her new Hansard Student Sydney Greene. Sydney, from Washington in the United States, will be working with Marion in London until April of this year, focussing primarily on education.

On Wednesday, Marion was hard at work in Parliament, in particular as part of the Education Select Committee and in attendance at Prime Minister’s Questions. The MP was also in attendance at various meetings, while some of her staff attended an information session from Alzheimer Scotland to learn more about Dementia and raising awareness within the community.

After meeting with the Lanarkshire Deaf Club on Friday morning, Marion spent the afternoon on the streets of Motherwell, talking to local people about the potential closure of Brandon Post Office. Everyone Marion and her staff spoke with expressed concern regarding job losses, accessibility, service standards and reduced footfall in the town centre.