A Week in Parliament

Seaborne (Again)

So the Seaborne Freight ferry deal collapsed. The Transport Secretary has continued to bluff that it didn’t really matter as it hadn’t cost the taxpayer any money. It is now confirmed that the shambolic non tender process has cost the taxpayer a £33m settlement with Eurotunnel. The worst thing is that the two contracts awarded for circa £45m each to existing providers only kick in if there is a no deal Brexit and the contracts are invoked. Thanks to Grayling’s complete incompetence, Eurotunnel get £33m without providing services! I honestly defy anyone to tell me Grayling deserves to be in post.

No Deal Vote

The SNP had an amendment to the UK Government motion on EU Withdrawal to rule out a No Deal Brexit. Labour backed the amendment as did other opposition parties. Meanwhile the Scottish Secretary who says he wants the UK Government to rule out a No Deal Brexit voted against it. After voting against it he stated that it was an SNP stunt, and actually the SNP really want a No Deal Brexit. What?! In his parallel world the SNP want a No Deal Brexit but cunningly put forward a proposal to rule it out, and while he definitely wants to rule out a No Deal Brexit, he does so by voting against a measure that would ensure No Deal is removed. I accept I am supposed to use my column to explain the workings in Parliament, but if any reader can explain the logic of the Scottish Secretary’s double speak I would be delighted!

Brexit Legislation

As part of Brexit preparations, the UK Government has to amend a lot of legislation and they are way behind schedule on this. Most legislation is changed by Delegated Legislation Committees – this is a way of amending existing primary legislation using what is termed “secondary” legislation. This is usually done in small committees. Some of these are deemed controversial enough that they need to be debated on the “floor of the house”, the main chamber. This highlighted another of the shambles of the workings of the UK Government, when at the last second they didn’t “move” the business for one committee at the last second. There was no prior notification, and I had spent all morning in preparation as I was leading for the SNP on the committee, as it related to transport. No apology. No explanation. A complete waste of the clerks time as well. It is also bizarre if it is supposedly critical legislation that they delay introducing it. It may be they feared a defeat as I had plenty of concerns to raise and both the SNP and Labour would have voted against. Just another indication of the lack of leadership and planning at Westminster. Just another day.

These views were first expressed in the Kilmarnock Standard.