This Week #53

Monday 19th June 2017

On Monday, Marion was working hard at home in the constituency, before attending the Clyde Valley High prize-giving ceremony, during which the MP presented awards to 5th and 6th year pupils including Dux Medal winner Meghan Hill.

Marion presents Meghan with her Dux Medal.

Tuesday 20th June 2017

On Thursday, Marion continued working from her office in the Dalziel Building in Motherwell, discussing local issues, meeting local people, and assisting constituents with casework.

Wednesday 21st June 2017

“More powers for Scotland” should be an SNP priority at Westminster says MP
21st June 2017

Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has said that more powers for the Scottish Parliament should be one of the party’s top priorities during this Parliament.

New powers were devolved to the Scottish Parliament following the 2014 independence referendum and a massive SNP victory in the 2015 General Election.

The SNP included further devolution in their 2017 manifesto. The MP says that the SNP’s victory in the snap General Election with 35 of 59 MPs demonstrates a clear desire and mandate for yet more powers to be devolved.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The SNP’s manifesto called on more powers for the Scottish Parliament and Scotland has voted for that pledge to be fulfilled.

“The Scottish Parliament received new powers last year that the Scottish Government are beginning to put to good use. For example, we are breaking away from the Tories’ welfare regime of sanctions and unfair disability assessments to build a system of dignity and respect.

“However some of the powers, such as control of income tax, is difficult to use while Westminster still holds the powers to tackle tax evasion which makes it easier for people to register their tax in England to pay a lower rate.

“When the Tories are teaming up with the far right DUP, Scottish parties must unite to take these powers out of Theresa May’s hands and into Scotland’s.

“With Brexit, there is an opportunity for powers over agriculture and fisheries for example to be returned to the Scottish Parliament. With the Great Repeal Bill, it is essential that Westminster is not able to hold onto powers that are rightfully Scotland’s in a power grab.

“Further tax, employment and pension powers must be a key priority. We shouldn’t allow the Tories to allow tax evasion while ordinary people pay their fair share; we shouldn’t allow people to work for poverty wages; and we shouldn’t allow people who have paid into the pension pot have their retirement ruined.”

Thursday 22nd June 2017

Thursday provided Marion with the opportunity to provide a fantastic contribution to the Housing and Social Security debate at the House of Commons, stating:

In Scotland, we value all of our citizens, whatever their age or ethnicity. Many constituents have approached me in desperation and disbelief. I have a long list and I do not have time to go through it, but during the election campaign I was approached by a grieving grandmother whose son had just been widowed. The so-called simplification of bereavement support resulting in cuts for widows and widowers when they are at their most vulnerable is scandalous. I ask Members to try to imagine how someone who is grieving must feel when having to give up their employment to deal with a young family and finding out that the financial support they expected because of their circumstances was no longer there. That happened in April of this year.

The SNP is opposed to any increase in national insurance, especially at a time of low consumer confidence and squeezed household budgets. We need a freeze on NI contributions and VAT. The SNP here in Westminster will fight for a moratorium and review of the closure of HMRC offices in Scotland and across the UK, for beneficial ownership of companies and trusts to be made public, for measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by major international companies, and for further action by the UK Government to tackle international tax avoidance. If these measures were taken, there might be no need for austerity cuts at all, or at least they could be lessened.

The SNP will fight for an end to benefit sanctions, to the roll-out of universal credit and to charges from the Child Maintenance Service, and we will fight to end private company involvement in social security benefits. Finally, we will fight to abolish the premium-rate telephone charge for those seeking advice or claiming benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions. Not only do the Government cut benefits, but they charge people increasingly large amounts to access what is rightfully theirs. We must help the worst off and most vulnerable in our society, not impose further cuts on them.

Click here to read Marion’s speech in full.

Friday 23rd June 2017

On Friday, Marion visited Dalzell steelworks in Motherwell and met with General Manager Drew McGhie.

Although the Scottish Government saved the plant, the UK Government has yet to outline a proper industrial strategy to create the right conditions for manufacturing businesses. Marion is talking to local businesses with the intention of making sure this happens.

With great capabilities in engineering research and innovation through universities, steel businesses like Dalzell that make steel for wind turbines, and great potential for renewable energy in Scotland, there are plenty of opportunities to grow in these sectors. But we need a government that is willing.

Marion meets Drew McGhie, General Manager of the Dalzell steelworks.

Finsbury Park Attack

Finsbury Park attack: Theresa May condemns ‘sickening’ terror attack.

The horrific attack near Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park can only be described as an act of terrorism.

Anti-Muslim sentiment propagated by some politicians and the right-wing media has created division and ignited hatred in parts of our communities. Consequently, extremists such as the Finsbury Park attacker act on their hatred, murdering innocent people in the process.

Just as we condemn those who claim to commit atrocities in the name of Islam, we must also condemn those who do so as a result of Islamophobia.

We must not and cannot allow extremists of any kind to divide us.

Hope will always win over fear.


This Week #49

27th March – 2nd April 2017

On Monday, it was back to London for Marion as the Member of Parliament travelled south for another busy week at Wesminster.

Marion was in London on Tuesday, with a busy day of parliamentary duties and briefings within the House of Commons.

Marion also appeared in a Westminster Hall debate on Preventing Avoidable Sight Loss, providing an excellent contribution:

A really important point is that free eye tests, which we have in Scotland, encourage people to attend regularly to have their eyesight checked, which, as I said, leads to better treatment earlier. We really do not want a postcode lottery anywhere in the UK but, as hon. Members said, there is a postcode lottery in England: people need to live in the best place to get the best treatment.

You can read Marion’s contribution in full here.

On Wednesday, Marion had her usual Education Select Committee commitments prior to her appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MP took the opportunity to highlight the ludicrous hypocrisy shown by Theresa May in her attitude to a second independence referendum, given her handling of Brexit:

The people expect the Prime Minister to follow her party’s manifesto, and to abide by a majority vote of this Parliament, so why does she say that the First Minister of Scotland should do the opposite?

The Prime Minister’s response was as dismissive and irrelevant to the question as usual:

What I say is that as we face this historic moment of invoking article 50 and setting in process the negotiations for the future of this country and its relationship with the European Union, now is the time to pull together and not try to hang apart.

Later in the day, during the debate on Article 50, Marion took the opportunity to again quiz the Prime Minister on the prospect of a second independence referendum:

The stated position of the UK Government was that “the UK is a family of nations, a partnership of equals”.

Why then, are the UK Prime Minister and her Secretary of State for Scotland so disrespectful of the people and Parliament of Scotland, and why are they running so scared of a Scottish referendum 18 months to two years down the line?

Theresa May’s unconvincing response was:

There is no disrespect for anybody. What there is is respect for putting into place the vote that was taken by the people of the United Kingdom on 23 June last year.

Thursday saw another busy day of parliamentary duties, including appearing in the backbench business debate on Local and Regional News:

It is important, as many Members have said, that local media are prevalent, as they are a bastion for local democracy. Local media really understand what is going on locally and can be a good force for local campaigning and fundraising. How many of us look at our children and our grandchildren in the weekly newspaper and sigh and feel very proud? I am really proud of my local papers. Last week, there was a local rally welcoming refugees to Wishaw, and the Wishaw Press turned up in force and had it on the front page. That is local democracy in action. The paper will also cover the proposed Scottish Defence League rally, and I hope it gives that the same amount of coverage, because we have to be balanced in what we say.

I may not agree with what local newspapers write, but their right to write it has to be preserved. The NUJ has highlighted that in its mapping exercise. We need to preserve and protect what we have. The Government should consider an inquiry into local media. I hope the Minister will listen to the calls that Members have made. I am not going to stand here and repeat everything that everyone has said, because although these things bear repetition, I do not think it would advance what has already been said this afternoon. This industry is vital for all of us and all our constituents, and we have to look at it in that light.

Later in the day, Marion made the long journey back home for Easter Recess, ahead of a busy couple of weeks working in the constituency.

On Friday, Marion was back home working from her constituency office in the Dalziel Building, Motherwell, dealing with casework, discussing matters with constituents and local organisations, and continuing to work hard for the people of Motherwell and Wishaw.

Marion was at Wishaw Library on Saturday hosting her monthly surgery in the venue.

Surgeries provide a platform for local people to raise their issues, ask questions, and seek assistance from their elected MP, and both Marion and her staff strive to ensure all those seeking support are adequately assisted.


Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows said the horror terrorist attack will never leave her but we should never give into terrorism

From the Wishaw Press

MP Marion Fellows this week said the horror terrorist attack in Westminster last week will never leave her but we should never give into terrorism.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MP was going through the lobby to vote in the House of Parliament when evil killer Khalid Masood’s mowed down three pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed to death unarmed constable Keith Palmer with a kitchen knife on a day of carnage last Wednesday.

Seconds earlier mother-of-two Aysha Frade, US tourist Kurt Cochran and retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes died when Masood drove his car into people on Westminster Bridge.

Mrs Fellows told the Wishaw Press: “As I go back to Westminster on Monday, I am thinking about the terrible events of last Wednesday.

“It is hard to think about PC Palmer and those innocent bystanders who were killed by a terrorist intent on creating mayhem in the UK Parliament.

“All needless deaths, killed by a man who had rejected the democratic process in favour of extremism.

“My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who lost loved ones, in particular with the family of PC Keith Palmer who bravely protected people against this senseless attack.”

Mrs Fellows praised the security staff and said they deserved “the utmost recognition for their efforts and courage”.

She added: “As I sat in the Chamber during lockdown I could not help but feel guilty. As news filtered in of what had happened and the subsequent deaths that afternoon all MPs were shocked and saddened.

“It was a surreal experience sitting in the Chamber using a phone and an iPad to keep in touch with friends and family and to get the latest news.

“Unusually, I had two members of staff in Westminster that day.

“I had just gone through the division lobby to vote and they were attending a meeting in the Committee Corridor of the House. The Chamber was immediately locked down and I was not able to go and find my staff who were moved out of the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey.

“When I returned to my accommodation that night I checked the time and was astonished it was only just after 8pm. I would have reckoned on it being nearer midnight. Walking in to work on Thursday morning past all the media satellite vans, along eerily quiet streets towards Parliament security was noticeably tighter. The number of police officers on duty had significantly increased. It was immensely reassuring but extremely sad to see them there as they were carrying on as normal in spite of losing a colleague and perhaps a friend.

“It was on that walk that the full horror of what happened on Wednesday afternoon struck home. It will never leave me. After the statement from the Prime Minister business was carried on as usual which I truly believe is the right response in these circumstances. Security will be tightened even more and we will all be more watchful.

“We must, I believe, never give in to terrorism in any form. The democratic process is too precious to give up in fear. It won’t ever be the same for me walking into work but I am proud to do it and am determined to keep doing it for as long as I am elected to represent the people of Motherwell and Wishaw.”


This Week #48

20th – 26th March 2017

Marion was in London on Tuesday working hard, with a busy day of parliamentary duties and briefings within Westminster.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MP also contributed to the Fuel Poverty debate in the House of Commons:

In Scotland, 58% of single pensioner households are in fuel poverty, as are 44% of pensioner couples. The UK as a whole has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty and one of the most inefficient housing stocks in Europe. Fuel poverty rates are higher in Scotland. It is an indisputable fact that more often than not it is colder in Braemar than in Bournemouth, and that means that houses must be heated from a lower ambient temperature and for longer periods throughout the year.

Today in London the sun is shining, and although it is cold, older and vulnerable people could probably venture outside. This morning I received two picture messages showing snow lying on the ground outside my Wishaw home. Not many older or vulnerable people will be venturing outside there until it thaws. They will need to heat their homes in the meantime, and the cost of heating those homes is a burden that many of them simply cannot afford. That is shameful. When people are old, infirm or immobile, the cost of heating can be excessive, especially for those on low fixed incomes.

Marion’s full speech can be found here.

On Wednesday, Marion had her usual morning engagements at the Education Select Committee meeting and Prime Minister’s Questions. The afternoon, however, was rocked by the attack at Westminster which led to the sad deaths of PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Kurt Cochran, and Leslie Rhodes.

Despite being another busy day of hard work at Westminster, Thursday was also a day of reflection on the events from the previous day.

During the Business of the House session within the Commons, Marion stated:

I associate myself with all the remarks and condolences that have been expressed so eloquently this morning. I refer particularly to my hon. Friend Pete Wishart who mentioned going home; I am going home tonight, and I am very grateful to be doing so. Unfortunately, I will miss a rally at the bottom cross in Wishaw; it has been organised quickly to support the refugees that we will soon be welcoming and against a proposed Scottish Defence League march in Wishaw against refugees.

On Friday, Marion was back in the constituency, hosting a fantastic and very successful funding event for local people and organisations.