A Week in Parliament

Private Members Bill

I was glad to present my Private Members Bill on HELMS Green Deal mis-selling. I am genuinely angry for my constituents (and anyone else) who has been ripped off by this company regards their PV installations. This possible legislative process starts off with me having ten minutes to present the bill to parliament, for what is also known as the First Reading of a Bill. I then choose a date for the second reading where there should be a debate on the merits of my bill and ideally a vote. However, this is where yet again, the archaic Westminster system fails us. At present, the Government have not scheduled any additional “sitting Fridays” to allow private members bills to be debated. They keep promising to, but then pull the parliamentary motions that would allow them to be set. Additionally there is now such a backlog of Private Members Bills (including another of mine) that this one will effectively be at the back of the queue and unlikely to be debated. It is so frustrating when you hope to bring about change.

The one positive is that I was able to lay bare the key issues the UK Government have to take on board. It is customary for the responsible Minister to be in the chamber to hear the arguments put forth. However, I noted that for the first couple of minutes, the Minister wasn’t even listening – she was too busy chatting. Hopefully her officials took notice but the Ministerial attitude is disrespectful to the HELMS victims.

Special Constituency H.E.L.M.S. Drop-In Surgery

H.E.L.M.S. Action Group Ayrshire and Citizens Advice Bureau are teaming up with my office at The Gateway Centre in Kilmarnock on Wednesday 6th February between 4 – 8pm. These groups are calling for East Ayrshire residents who feel they may be affected by the Green Deal scandal to come to the event for advice, information, and support to make a formal complaint if required.

Institute for Government Report

The Institute for Government has published an assessment report on the current UK Government. It does not make good reading for the UK Government. They confirm that the Government is unprepared to leave the EU on March 29th without a deal, and also that there is no way the UK Government will have the proper preparations in place by December 2020, even if Teresa May somehow gets her withdrawal agreement through Parliament.

They observe on the turnover and chaos of Government – Amber Rudd is now the 5th Secretary for Work and Pensions since 2016 which shows why no-one can get a grip of Universal Credit. Only 8 ministers out of 29 remain in post since Teresa May became PM in 2016. Since the General Election of 2017, there has been 21 ministerial resignations. Half the cabinet were new to their posts in 2018. I defy anyone to say that this level of turnover is productive, and it shows the folly of Teresa May’s “strong and stable” slogan.

Private Members Bill Motion

As stated above, the UK Government has pulled the motion on provision of additional private member bill days a couple of times. One bonus of them doing that on a day when other legislation was under English Votes for English Laws meant I was able to make last minute plans to get back to my constituency earlier than usual. This meant being able to catch Killie’s victory against Rangers. A bonus of the chaotic Government for once!

These views were first expressed in the Kilmarnock Standard.