51st Edition

Monday 6th February

My column appears in The National newspaper every Monday. 
Photo: The National
George Kerevan: Catalonia’s vote on indy will have consequences for Scots and the EU

THE former president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, goes on trial in Barcelona this week. He is charged with offences against the current Spanish Constitution. This document, adopted in 1978 as post-Franco Spain struggled towards democracy, legally enshrines “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards”. The alleged crime of Artur Mas is to have challenged that “indissoluble unity” of the Spanish state by organising a Catalan independence referendum, for which offence he risks a 10-year ban from public office and a fine.
You can read the full column HERE
Daily Mail praises SNP MPs (and me!)

Under the headline "Sparky Scottish Nationalists make Labour look like plodders" the Daily Mail (!) praised the efforts of the SNP MPs at Westminster:
"When they arrived in May 2015 some wondered how long they would stick to the punishing weekly schedule of travelling south, staying in a hotel and adapting to the Commons and its arcane ways. Answer: they have taken to it with gusto.
In the Brexit votes they were united. Firmly whipped or of one accord? You could argue that either way."
It goes on to describe me as "the lugubriously polite George Kerevan".
You can read the whole article HERE
Monday was taken up with the first day's debate over Theresa May's rushed and brief Brexit Bill. SNP MPs were out in force but felt they were being excluded in the main from speaking. It was a long day and rather frustrating!

Tuesday 7th February

Another long day and late night debating the Brexit Bill.

George In The News!

Some of you might have seen or read the news about the six HBOS bankers jailed ruining small businesses so they could grab their assets and sell them off. It cost Lloyds, which took over HBOS in 2008, £245million and at least 50 small businesses were ruined as a result.

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for East Lothian I wrote to the Chief Executive of Lloyds, pressing for full and fair compensation for all. I shall be taking it with Lloyds face to face with Lloyds Director of Commercial Banking!

I certainly made the news and you can read all about it HERE

The Independent, Lloyds Bank urged by MPs to compensate customers scammed by corrupt HBOS bankers in £245m fraud, 6 February 2017

Belfast Telegraph, MPs urge Lloyds Bank to pay 'proper compensation' to firms affected by HBOS scam, 6 February 2017

Daily Mail, This Is Money, MPs call for Lloyds Bank to compensate businesses affected by HBOS crooks

City AM, MPs call on Lloyds to pay up compensation following HBOS fraud trial, 6 February 2017

Yorkshire Post, Bank misconduct drains lifeblood of small business, 7 February 2017

Euronews, Lloyds bows to pressure to review HBOS fraud compensation claims, 7 February 2017

The Telegraph, Lloyds to review compensation for victims of HBOS fraud, 7 February 2017

The Guardian, Lloyds apologises for 'distress' caused by £245m HBOS loan scam, 7 February 2017

Daily Mail, This Is Money, Bank launches probe for families whose businesses were wrecked by the HBOS crooks, 7 February 2017

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

FT Adviser, Lloyds Faces MPs Grilling Over HBoS Fraud, 8 February 2017

The Sun, 'SORRY FOR LOAN CON' Lloyds Bank apologises to 200 small firms after ex-HBOS boss was jailed for aiding £1billion loan scam, 8 February

Mortgage Solutions, MPs call on banking giant Lloyds to compensate HBOS victims of fraud, 8 February 2017

Wednesday 8th February

The day started with a meeting with Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice, who has kindly agreed to sit on the panel of inquiry into how the banks treat small businesses, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking, which I chair.

Later I was delighted to meet Dwight DeMorais from tarmac to discuss how things are at the Dunbar plant.

The big event was the final vote on the Brexit Bill, with amendments submitted by ourselves and other opposition parties rushed through without debate. At the close we all voted against the Bill - a unity sadly not shared with the main opposition party.

I have to record the thanks I received for voting that way, along with all SNP MPs, from so many of my constituents. Thanks to all who contacted me. 

Thursday 16th February 

 Having not been called to speak in the Brexit Bill debate, today I got to speak no less than three times.

Firstly I quizzed the Secretary of State for Culture what the impact of Brexit would be on British bands travelling to concerts in Europe. Currently they avoid all sorts of restrictions which could come into place post-Brexit.
You can watch the exchange HERE
Brexit could mean the UK is excluded from the new EU-wide global positioning system (GPS) that went live in December after more than 15 years in development. Much of that work having was carried out by British firms.
The Galileo system, developed in partnership between the European Union and the European Space Agency (a 22-country, non-EU organisation that the UK will not be leaving), will end  dependence of European countries on GPS technology provided by either the US, Russia or China.
In a debate on International Trade I tackled the minister on whether Britain would be excluded from Galileo.
You can watch my question and his answer HERE
A constituent had contacted me about money he had lost from his civil service pension due to an anomoly in the way the system worked. I seized the opportunity to raise his case with the Lord Pesident of the Council, who is also Leader of the House. I was pleased with his reply which you can watch HERE
On a busy day I was pleased to attend the debate my colleague, Tommy Shepherd, MP for Edinburgh East had secured on the legality of Istaeli settlements on Palestinian land. A nnumber of constituents had expressed their concerns over this and the damage it was making for the cause of peace in the Middle East.

I was greatly please to have secured a Westminster Hall debate over the purchase of distressed assets by Cerberus Capital Management
I will introduce a two hour Westminster Hall debate about the role played by this financial group in the restructuring of the nationalised assets of UK banks following the financial crash of 2007.  This issue has been returned to on numerous ocassions by the Treasury Select Committee.  It focuses particularly on the purchase of the assets of the previous Northern Rock Bank.
The Evening Standard reported this under the headline:  "MPs set to probe Cerberus over toxic-loan ‘tax avoidance’ claims."
You can read the full article HERE

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