A Week in Parliament

I don’t think there is ever a typical week at Westminster other than “busy”. Monday had me sitting in on the Prime Minister’s statement of update of progress on EU negotiations. I challenged her to explain why if all the agreements were going so well, she was bringing in legislation for HGVs that is based on a “No Deal” scenario. You know you have asked a left field question when Boris Johnson put his hand up and muttered at me as in “what a stupid question”. Naturally it was just the fact that he didn’t know what I was referring to. The Prime Minister had to concede that they are making contingency plans. There is no doubt there is a real risk of a no deal and the Government are miles away from any real preparations.

I then summed up in a debate on the merits of insuring cars rather than drivers. Theoretically this makes it easier for drivers to access other cars and could possibly bring down insurance costs for younger drivers. However, it is not that simple and even in the US where technically it is the car that is insured, each driver has to have liability insurance. Additionally there are age restrictions put on some insurance policies so the same problems for young drivers in terms of cost and availability still exist.

Tuesday morning had me summing up on the debate about the merger of the Scottish Division of British Transport Police into Police Scotland. Both the Tories and Labour are against this idea. As apparently, if the Scottish Division is merged into Police Scotland as a rail division then they will not be able to co-operate cross border. It makes no sense, given there is plenty of cross border counter terrorism working ongoing elsewhere.  

Tuesday afternoon had me doing a front bench speech on the Energy Tariffs Bill. This is the legislation to bring in a cap on the rates people pay for their energy costs. At present, the poorer households, the most vulnerable and elderly tend not to switch companies or see what deal they can get from their supplier. This means that those with the lowest incomes are actually subsidising the energy bills of the richest, which clearly makes no sense. The Competitions and Markets Authority reckoned that those on standard variable tariffs overpaid a collective £1.4bn in 2016. That is a huge sum of money and why I support a cap.

Wednesday saw a DEFRA Committee investigation to the false labelling of real fur as faux fur, which is truly shocking. I dashed out of this and managed to get a question to David Mundell at Scottish Questions. The afternoon was spent with me being part of a cross committee group agreeing a report on air quality.

Three days, 2 chamber questions, 3 debates and 2 select committee meetings as well as squeezing in other meetings sure makes the week go past quickly. I was glad to be back in my constituency office for a catch up on Thursday.

These thoughts were first published in the Kilmarnock Standard