58th Edition

Monday 27th March

After catching the usual early morning train to London I spent the day dealing with correspondence from my constituents in addition to the day's Parliamentary business. Meanwhile, my column appears in The National newspaper every Monday. 
Photo: The National
Ukip may be in its death throes but a rabid right wing is still a real threat

DOUGLAS Carswell, formerly Ukip’s sole MP but now turned independent, leads a solitary, spectral life at Westminster. When he’s there, that is. Carswell is tall, thin and lugubrious. If he has any charm he hides it well. All in all, he is a tragic figure – a footnote in the Ukip story. Not that he deserves any sympathy. For Ukip has helped propel England to the edge of the Brexit cliff. Hopefully, Scotland will grab its own lifebelt.

Carswell’s exit from Ukip is more a case of being pushed than jumping. Since its formation in 1991 as the Anti-Federalist League – it was renamed the United Kingdom Independence Party two years later – Ukip has been a factional bear garden. Nigel Farage ousted the original founder, Alan Sked – the latter was educated at the old Allan Glen’s school in Glasgow and once stood as a Liberal candidate in Paisley.

Read the full article HERE

Tuesday 28th March

The House of Commons debated the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign in Yemen, the horrendous civilian casualties which are resulting and a growing humanitatrian crisis.

Keith Vaz MP moved a motion stating:
"That this House notes the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen; and calls upon the Government to take a lead in passing a resolution at the UN Security Council that would give effect to an immediate ceasefire in Yemen."

The SNP has pressed for an end to British arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to any British involvement in Saudi drone attacks. Today I asked whether the British Government was aware of the US intensification of its bombing in Yemen and what discussions has the UK had with Washington?

You can watch my speech HERE
Today I was quoted by Simon English in The Standard, under the heading, 
MP attacks Lloyds over loan scam compensation

"An MP on the Treasury Select Committee is writing to HBOS to express anger over the bank’s handling of a redress scheme for customers affected by a loan scam.

George Kerevan says it is unfair that the bank is in control of the compensation scheme.

In February HBOS bankers in Reading were sent to jail over a scam that saw small business clients lose their firms. Parent Lloyds Banking Group says it is looking into compensation claims.

You can read the full article HERE

Wednesday 29 March

Today the British Ambassador to the European Union delivered the letter from Thesesa May triggering Article 50, the two year process of the UK leaving the EU. She then made a statement in the House of Commons regarding this and took questions from MPs, including me.

I pointed out that not only had she forgotten Scotland but another concerned territory too, Gibraltar!

You can watch our exchange HERE
Both my parents served in the RAF during the Second World War and my father's job was to maintain the superb Merlin engine which powered among other planes the iconic Spitfire.

Today in Westminster Hall Royston Smith,  the MP for Southampton and Itchen, where the Spitfire was developed and first flew, introduced a debate pressing for the construction there of a memorial to the Spitfire, which played a decisive role in winning the Battle of Britain.

Whatever the current political debates about the democracy we deserve, we all in these islands share a common legacy of a joint fight against Nazism which we should take pride in. I was happy to speak in support of the motion, pointing to the key role of the Glasgow Hillington plant which produced the bulk of the Merlin engines.

You can watch the debate HERE

Thursday 30th March

Today was the start of the Parliamentary Easter Recess.

Before I left for a short break, I took another look at the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, which is gracing Westminster Hall until the end of April.

Designed by Andrew Crummy in Cockenzie, and commissioned by the Prestoungrange Arts Festival in Prestonpans, it is 64 metres long, consisting of 305 panels which were embroidered by stitchers from 34 countries.

Having travelled the world for two years, it has now come to rest at Westminster for six weeks.

We now need to find a permanent home for both the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry and its predecessor, the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry.

Friday 31st March

I was in the news again today, this time being quoted by Henry Mance in the Financial Times, under the heading:

Boris Johnson vows ‘rocklike’ support for Gibraltar

Boris Johnson has vowed to support Gibraltar after it emerged that Spain will in effect have a veto on any UK-EU trade deal after Brexit that affects the territory. “As ever, the UK remains implacable and rocklike in our support for Gibraltar,” he wrote on Twitter after the government of Gibraltar reacted furiously to the condition, which was set out in the European Council’s draft negotiating guidelines published on Friday.

It means Spain could use the Brexit process to pursue longstanding complaints over air travel, shipping and cigarette smuggling. The foreign secretary made the statement after speaking to Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, late on Friday.

You can read my comments on this HERE

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