A Week in Parliament

Armistice Remembrance Events

In the build up to the 100 year anniversary of the end of WW1 and the signing of the Armistice, I was delighted to attend the official opening of East Ayrshire’s Remembrance Garden. It is a fantastic turnaround of the former sunken garden at Holehouse Road, Kilmarnock. A poem was specially commissioned and it is engraved into the impressive entrances to the park. I was struck by the language in the poem – very much our local vernacular. It transpires this was because phrases were taken from letters from local people that were written during the war. A great way of localising the tribute.

I attended a remembrance event at William McIlvanney Campus, consisting of poems, song, drama and music.  It was fittingly emotional and respectful. I also got to saw the research undertaken by the various pupils and there was even a full uniform of a soldier from Kilmarnock on display. A great effort.

On Armistice Sunday, I laid a wreath at Kilmarnock Cenotaph. I am aware that there were many extra special efforts being made this year at memorials all over East Ayrshire, but as they all tend to take place at the same time, then it is not possible to attend the others. I did manage to Rugby Park where there was an afternoon service to remember the football players of the club who lost their lives in both wars. Well done to Ray Montgomerie for organising this.  One that has grown considerably in the past few years.

Westminster Recess

Yes, there was yet another Westminster recess – a November recess that actually only consists of two extra days that the Parliament is not sitting. It does seem strange and I know many members of the public view these things as additional holidays. However, an extra couple of days in the constituency and working in my office was welcome as it allowed me to catch up on casework with my hardworking staff.

Where I do take some issue, is that with Parliament only sitting on a Monday and Tuesday, then the Government tends to make business non-voting, allowing many MPs not to require to turn up. For example, to pad out business, they put on a general debate on Road Safety. A topic that is not unimportant, but there had been a Road Safety debate just two weeks previously in Westminster Hall, and another one programmed as backbench business. So how can this be a good use of parliamentary time in reality? As Transport Spokesperson I made these observations and challenged the Minister to provide updates on any actions from the recent debate on road safety, but from the non-answer it would seem any suggestions for improvement aren’t exactly being taking on board. Another example of UK Government inefficiency.


And the next weekly Ministerial resignation, number 23 out of the Government is Jo Johnson. I wonder when the farce will end? Given Jo is at the opposite political spectrum to his brother, I do wonder what family dinners will be like for the Johnsons!

These comments were first expressed in the Kilmarnock Standard.