30th January – 5th February 2017
Monday saw a return to London after the weekend as Marion travelled to Parliament for a week of meetings, briefings, and debates.
In the evening, Marion spoke in the debate on changes in the U.S. immigration policy, saying:
As a child, a long time ago, I listened to my parents with little understanding when they talked of their lived history. As an adult, I listened in shock to my father when he told me that he had helped to liberate a concentration camp. He told me that only once and never spoke of it again. In spite of the Foreign Secretary’s outrage at the repetition of references to the holocaust, I feel absolutely no shame in linking my family to what happened then and to what is happening now.
My grandchildren will wonder how I felt after this Executive order was signed and what effect it had on people in Scotland, the United Kingdom and across the world. I am able to record in Hansard that I feel fearful, upset, distressed and very, very angry. My condemnation of this vile act will matter little in the great scheme of things, but I expect the UK Government to utterly condemn this Executive order. I do not expect the Foreign Secretary to tell me, as the Foreign Secretary did, that he has mitigated it as far as UK passport holders are concerned. That is his duty. If this Government think that trade with the US matters more than the human rights of refugees and world citizens, then I feel even more affronted. If this Government want to be a world leader, they should show leadership and they should do it now.
On Tuesday, Marion attended a number of meetings and briefings at parliament, and was present as Dougie McLean played to mark the official renaming of ‘Caledonian House’.
Wednesday saw the usual agenda of various meetings and Prime Minister’s Questions, with Marion summing up during Westminster Hall debate on Maintained Nursery Schools Funding, saying:
Let me just say that, as a former councillor, I know how partnership nurseries work in Scotland—the local authorities help to fund and give their expertise to privately funded nurseries—and perhaps the Minister would like to think about that. What is needed is political will. I urge her to take on board what she has heard this morning and make the changes necessary to retain maintained nurseries in England.
In the evening, the Motherwell and Wishaw MP was a Teller as the UK Government voted to drag Scotland out of the EU against the expressed will of the Scottish people. The democratic deficit in the UK is now as stark as it ever has been with only one Scottish MP voting for Brexit.
Scotland was promised that our access to the EU would be secure in the UK and that Scotland would be an “equal partner”. It is apparent that this was a lie.
The Scottish Government has outlined a number of compromises to keep Scotland in the single market. However, The Tory Government refuses to listen. As a result, Scotland’s economy and social fabric will be torn apart. The UK Government must respect Scotland’s will.
On Thursday, Marion had a busy schedule of parliamentary business, including speaking during the consideration of the Armed Forces Covenant Report 2016, saying:
The Scottish Government give veterans priority access to low-cost housing through the low-cost initiative for first-time buyers, and provide schemes to help with deposits for private renters. In addition, they have awarded £1.3 million of grant funding to the Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association—another mouthful—to build new homes, 25 of which are now complete across six local authority areas, to support impaired ex-service personnel. I am delighted to tell the Chamber that I pass 10 of those new homes every time I visit my constituency office in Motherwell and Wishaw.
The Scottish Government support applications to the education support fund and encourage veterans and personnel to grasp the opportunities that the fund could give them. As an ex-further education lecturer, I have had practical experience of teaching service personnel —mainly those who were still serving but were committed to leaving the forces and preparing for civilian life—and I have to say that I found them all to be both committed and diligent.
In Scotland, the most obvious and far-reaching differences found by personnel leaving the services concern the provision of public services, most of which have been devolved to the Scottish Government and are now delivered by local authorities and NHS Scotland. It is almost inevitable that everyone leaving the military in Scotland will need to engage with those organisations as part of their personal transition process, whether about their health, housing, education or employment.
Marion’s contribution can be found in full here.
Friday saw a return to the constituency for Marion, as she met ith Head of Commercial Development in Scotland for the Start Up Loans Company (SULCo), Isobel Brown, to find out how to encourage and support local entrepreneurs.
The Start Up Loans Company offers loans, advice and support to aspiring businessmen and women across the UK.
Since being set up 4 years ago, the company has lent over £250million helping to create over 40,000 businesses. In Motherwell and Wishaw, 40 loans have been made to the value of £154,531.
The MP has said there are also a range of other organisations willing and able to offer their services and support businesses and entrepreneurs.
In the afternoon, Marion held her monthly Dalziel Building surgery, meeting constituents in order to assist them with any issues they may be experiencing.