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Campaigns
I supported having an election not just because of the Brexit bind we find ourselves in but so we can bring an end to the intolerable levels of rising poverty, especially child poverty, resulting in deepening inequality and widening divisions in our country. However, I am not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of a...
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I have shared deep concerns about potential violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen for several years now. This is why I have repeatedly called on the Government to immediately suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in the war on Yemen pending a comprehensive and independent investigation of all alleged war...
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With Parliament in gridlock I have expressed my fears that there were significant challenges for Parliament to overcome to be able to deliver a confirmatory vote. Sadly, my fears were borne out, and no consensus was found through the recent voting process. With Parliament unable to reach agreement,  a confirmatory vote, I believe, is a...
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I strongly believe that the practice of importing hunting trophies is wrong and requires firmer action. I share the concerns that the UK must tackle the illegal wildlife trade and work to end trophy hunting. Killing endangered wildlife for pleasure only helps push them even further towards extinction. We must also protect these wild animals...
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The environment is the bedrock of our economy, our security and our wellbeing. Healthy soils, oceans and woodland are vital for our food security, for mitigating and preventing flooding, supporting pollinators and biodiversity more broadly, and storing carbon. As you are aware, in December last year, the Government published its Draft Environment (Principles and Governance)...
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I am aware there have been calls for a ban on the use of the whip in racing, except for safety purposes. It is vital that the racing industry follows high animal welfare standards for all horses and that whips are used with minimal force and on minimal occasions. As you know, the sport’s governing...
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The free TV licence was introduced in 2000 in recognition that the licence fee could be a source of concern for many people over the age of 75, nearly 50% of whom were in the lowest three income deciles. However, in 2015, the BBC reached an agreement with the Government to take on the cost...
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It is shocking that we had not had a full debate in the House of Commons chamber on climate change for over two years. It is also disappointing that the debate took place at a time when it is difficult for all MPs to attend. I believe the Government needs to give this issue proper...
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I am very concerned at the way our withdrawal from the EU has been handled. I believe the Prime Minister’s approach resulted in a deeply flawed Brexit deal that will not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards, and will not ensure frictionless trade for British businesses. Following Parliament’s decisive rejection of her deal, I...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by ME. It is a highly complex condition affecting around 21,000 people in Scotland and I believe it is vital that patients receive the best treatment and care that takes account of their particular needs. I also pay tribute to the work undertaken by groups such as the ME...
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I understand the frustration experienced by many people living with diabetes who still cannot use Flash GM and Continuous Glucose Monitoring technologies for the purpose of driving. I know that these types of monitoring devices are easier, quicker and less painful than routine finger-prick glucose monitoring and can transform peoples’ lives. I appreciate that the...
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We are in a tumultuous situation on Brexit. This is the result of the Government’s failure and refusal to adopt the kind of approach I and the Labour Party have been calling for, that can safeguard jobs and the economy. It is very clear that Parliament has zero faith in Theresa May’s deal and that...
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After 20 months of negotiations, I believe the Government’s approach to Brexit has resulted in a bad deal that does not work for our country and is unlikely to be endorsed when it comes before Parliament now in the next few weeks. This is a result of the Government’s failure and refusal to adopt the...
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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for regulating high-cost credit in the UK. I know that in a letter to payday lenders in October 2018, the FCA said they should reassess the quality of their affordability tests. The Government says the FCA has tough enforcement powers to protect consumers and act against firms that...
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NC7 was an amendment to increase accountability of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and senior officers of Northern Ireland departments, for their role in ensuring human rights compliance in Northern Ireland, in the absence of Northern Ireland Ministers. This amendment was designed, not to change the law, but to address incompatibilities between legislation...
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Universal Credit (UC) is a single payment which will replace six means-tested benefits and tax credits for working-age individuals and families. It is the Government’s flagship welfare reform and I am concerned that it has been plagued by problems in its design and delivery having experienced the cases of many of my own constituents where...
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It is an important principle of the BBC’s Charter that the BBC is operationally and editorially independent. The BBC also has a duty under both the BBC Charter and the Broadcasting Code to deliver impartial and accurate news. Indeed, the agreement accompanying the BBC Charter requires the BBC to do all it can to ensure...
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Instead of encouraging the use of fossil fuels by making the planning process easier for their development, we should be boosting renewable energy projects. In 2016, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published a report on shale gas and our climate change targets. It found that fracking was not compatible with these targets unless it...
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I agree that multinational companies that accrue large amounts of revenue in the UK should pay their fair share of tax. Taxation is what underpins our shared prosperity. All of us, including businesses, benefit from a healthy, educated and skilled population, with access to basic services and secure housing. I am concerned that the small...
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Since 2011, the Scottish Government has made local government funding cuts to the tune of £1.5 billion, making it impossible for councils to deliver the full range of public services that our communities need. I am also concerned by the results of the 2017 Scottish Household Survey which found that public satisfaction in public services...
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I respect and accept the outcome of the June 2016 referendum on our membership of the EU. However, this does not mean that I accept the Prime Minister’s definition of Brexit. Nor does it mean we should just automatically support the Government’s chaotic approach to the negotiations. The referendum was a vote to mandate the...
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I am deeply concerned by the situation faced by the Rohingya population and the widespread violations of human rights that have occurred in Burma. More than 680,000 people have fled from Burma to Bangladesh since August 2017 and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the situation in Rakhine State as an example of...
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I recognise the serious concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain, particularly on the position of opposition and civil liberties groups, the detention of political prisoners and allegations of torture. The 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) into human rights abuses made no fewer than 26 recommendations. On 9 May 2016, the King...
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There are around ten million people in the UK living with arthritis, with the number of Scots with arthritis set to double by 2030. Too often it can go unnoticed or ignored by wider society. I therefore welcome efforts to raise awareness of the condition and the impact it can have on people’s daily lives....
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As you know, in August 2018 the Department for Transport (DfT) launched a consultation which examines the possibility of creating a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving for cyclists. The DfT has said the consultation seeks views on the scope and penalties for new and existing offences and aims to...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by Parkinson’s disease and I pay tribute to Parkinson’s UK for the crucial work it does in funding research, providing support and information to individuals and families and campaigning on behalf of patients for improved health and social care services. I recognise the issue you have raised about enabling...
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As you know, in 2016 the Government committed to launch a Pensions Dashboard by 2019. The dashboard was designed to be a one-stop-shop digital platform, where any individual could view their various pension pots and see how much they have saved for their retirement. The Opposition has long supported the creation of a Pensions Dashboard,...
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I agree that the Government must ensure the UK advocates strongly for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea. Such a protected area would help safeguard one of the last pristine regions in Antarctica and ensure the conservation of vital ecosystems settled in these waters and the surrounding coast. A number...
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I share your concerns on this important issue. The Trade Bill gives the Government unprecedented powers to implement international trade agreements without a vote in Parliament. The Government argues that it simply aims to maintain after Brexit agreements that we are already party to as a member of the EU. However, legally the agreements in...
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I agree that this is an important issue and that proper scrutiny of trade deals is essential. As you know, the Government has introduced a Trade Bill to allow the UK to pursue an independent trade policy when we leave the EU. I believe we should have used this opportunity to ensure meaningful parliamentary scrutiny...
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Last week in the Commons, MPs were voting on the Trade Bill – one of the vital pieces of legislation that the UK requires to have on the statute book once we leave the European Union. The purpose of the legislation was essentially to ‘transition’ the EU’s trade agreements to UK agreements. It covers only...
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I was extremely saddened by the case of Seni Lewis, who tragically died after being restrained face-down in a mental health hospital in England. As health is a devolved matter, the Scottish Government has responsibility for this policy area in Scotland. While I am supportive of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill, it...
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I understand there are very strong views on this subject, which has been indicated to me by the large number of constituents who have been in touch to raise their concerns. I am aware it was recently featured in the press that Members of Parliament have reported 723 cases of suspected immigration abuse to authorities...
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It is important to recognise that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of violence against women and girls. It is therefore vital that vulnerable people are protected from abuse and that everyone who sells sex is protected from harm and exploitation. I believe women involved in sex work should have access to information, help and...
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The Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991 – which extends to Scotland – was introduced to protect the public from dangerous dog attacks. However, I appreciate there has been debate about the effectiveness of BSL and I know several animal welfare groups support an approach where it is the deed, not breed, that determines whether a...
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Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015 and the humanitarian situation in many parts of the country is extremely dire. Indeed, the UN estimates that almost 18 million people are food insecure and over 8 million people are at risk of starvation. Millions more also lack access to safe water and sanitation...
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Allegations that members of our security and intelligence services may have been involved in the improper treatment of detainees held by other countries need proper and full investigation. I know that organisations such as Reprieve and others have called for a public inquiry into this issue. As you may know, an independent, judge-led inquiry was...
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Globally, an estimated 1 billion people have a disability and 80% of those with disabilities live in developing countries. People with disabilities face multiple challenges and significant levels of stigma and discrimination in schools, workplaces and accessing public services. Too often they are denied access to power and a voice, which contributes to inequality of...
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I agree that this is an important issue. As the campaign from Global Justice Now highlights, millions of people in the developing world are missing out on the medicines they need. Even here in the UK, the situation on drug prices is not serving patients or taxpayers as well as it could and concerns continue...
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In your letter, you provide suggestions on how to improve air quality and lower emissions. You argue that bulk fuel additives, engine performance optimisers, fuel enhancement technology and E10 could improve air quality without putting additional charges and taxes on motorists. These are interesting initiatives and I wanted to thank you for bringing them to...
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There are around ten million people in the UK living with arthritis, with the number of Scots with arthritis set to double by 2030. Too often it can go unnoticed or ignored by wider society. I therefore welcome efforts to raise awareness of the condition and the impact it can have on people’s daily lives....
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I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a universal healthcare system provided free at the point of use: a comprehensive, integrated and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it. I also want an NHS that is free of privatisation. I therefore share your concerns about the...
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As you know, Parliament has been scrutinising the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill which prepares our legal framework for when we leave the EU. This legislation is not about whether we leave the EU – that was settled by the referendum and Parliament’s decision to trigger Article 50 last year. The UK will therefore leave the...
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I appreciate that this issue generates strong views on both sides. You raise several important points, particularly about the potential for Heathrow expansion to create jobs and promote economic growth. I would like to assure you that I recognise the need for additional airport capacity in the south east of England. On 5 June 2018,...
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The EU Withdrawal Bill has now completed its passage through Parliament and will soon become law. This Bill is not about whether we leave the EU – that was settled by the referendum and Parliament’s decision to trigger Article 50 last year. The Bill is instead about how we leave the EU, Parliament’s role in...
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I am pro-trade and pro-investment. Our future prosperity depends on minimising the barriers that prevent us from exporting and creating the jobs and economic growth we need. In principle, I would therefore have welcomed a comprehensive trade deal with a longstanding ally such as Canada. However, our trade policy must also protect workers’ rights, as...
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The pub sector in Scotland supports 60,000 jobs and the brewing and pub industries contribute around £1.7 billion to the Scottish economy every year. In addition, around 30 million adults across the UK visit the pub every month. Pubs are at the heart of our communities. However, they continue to be under severe threat and...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone who is affected by cancer and I pay tribute to cancer charities for their tireless efforts in funding research, developing policy and providing support to patients and their families. Improving early diagnosis must be a key priority for the both the UK and the Scottish Governments – key to this...
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I welcome the recent announcement by the UK Government that it will remove the immigration cap on foreign doctors and nurses. I have consistently questioned the logic of turning away qualified medical professionals from working in the NHS at a time when it is struggling to fill vacancies. Our health service has always relied on...
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I agree that leaving the EU must not lead to any watering down of existing standards on the environment and I have consistently supported amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill designed to safeguard environmental standards. Of course, environmental policy is devolved in Scotland and I have therefore also supported amendments to implement a clear presumption...
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I share your concerns about the move by some NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England to establish wholly owned subsidiary companies to run a range of services. I therefore support the efforts of the Opposition in Westminster in calling on the UK Government to block the creation of wholly owned subsidiary companies and undertake...
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I agree that women should have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion. As you know, the Republic of Ireland recently voted to overturn its ban on abortion. I believe that this is a fantastic victory for women’s rights. Following this historic vote, focus has now turned to Northern Ireland where abortion law differs...
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I understand that concerns have been raised about the conviction of Mr Robinson. As you will be aware, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison for contempt of court after live streaming on Facebook outside an active trial at Leeds Crown Court on 25 May. In the video, Mr Robinson discussed the case and...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone who has been affected by cancer and I pay tribute to Breast Cancer Care for the vital work it does in providing care, information and support to patients and their families. I believe we should set an ambition for the NHS across the UK to have the best cancer survival...
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I am aware that organisations such as Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have expressed concerns about UK arms exports to Israel, particularly following recent violence in Gaza and the hostilities there in 2014. As a country, I believe it is important that we implement the Arms Trade Treaty to...
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I have consistently said that our future relationship with the EU must put jobs and the economy first and must therefore maintain the benefits of the Single Market. I am committed to holding the Government’s Brexit deal against this test when it comes before Parliament for approval. I have long believed that Parliament must be...
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I value the economic and social contributions that migrant workers make to the UK and I strongly agree that being able to strike is a fundamental right. As you know, migrants working in the UK on Tier 2 skilled worker visas are subject to a 20-day annual limit on unpaid leave from work. I share...
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I was shocked and appalled by the violence that we saw occur around protests on the Gaza border. Israel of course has the right to secure its borders. However, the loss of life and large number of Palestinians injured is extremely worrying. I am particularly concerned about the volume of live fire that was used...
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In 2000, the UK was the first country in Europe to ban fur farming when the breeding and slaughter of animals for the value of their fur was banned on public morality grounds. I have long believed that the UK must lead the world on high animal welfare standards and I am proud of our...
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There is a long history of betting shops in many communities and I appreciate that they make a significant contribution to the economy and provide employment for many people in our constituency and across the country. The success and sustainability of our high streets is also important and although I recognise that many people enjoy...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by cancer and I appreciate that charities such as CLIC Sargent offer invaluable support to young cancer patients and their families during an incredibly difficult time. I know CLIC Sargent’s report, ‘Cancer Costs’, identified the additional emotional stress caused by financial pressures as a significant problem for young cancer...
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Farming is critical to our economy, providing thousands of jobs and is the cornerstone of our food production. I support farming in Scotland and across the UK and want it to be economically viable, environmentally sustainable and to lead the world with high standards in animal welfare and food quality. I believe that a new...
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I believe this is an important Bill which would strengthen the Modern Slavery Act 2015. I am alarmed by figures from the National Crime Agency which show that the number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery reported to the authorities increased by more than a third in 2017. These are terrible, brutal crimes...
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I share concerns about the treatment of birds such as pheasants and partridges that are bred and reared specifically for shooting. I agree animals should not suffer unnecessarily or be kept in inappropriate conditions. As you may be aware, animal welfare is a matter devolved to the Scottish Parliament. In 2006, the then Scottish Government...
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It is deeply regrettable that the leaders of the British, American and French governments launched further military action in Syria in response to the suspected Douma attack before any independent report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was conducted or any renewed UN investigation carried out. The government’s decision to support the intervention...
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I appreciate this is a very sensitive issue, and understand concerns regarding end of life care and the law surrounding assisted suicide are particularly complex and emotive for many people. As you may be aware, the law concerning assisted dying is a matter for the Scottish Parliament. Since 2010, two Bills relating to assisted suicide...
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I agree that the disgraceful practice of “upskirting” should be a specific sexual offence in law. Upskirting is humiliating for victims and a huge invasion of their privacy. I am aware that a Private Members’ Bill has been introduced in the House of Commons which aims to amend the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to make...
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I pay tribute to the journalists who carried out the investigation that brought the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal to light. The allegations against Cambridge Analytica, which has now gone into administration, and Facebook, if proven true, would mean that millions of individuals’ Facebook data had been misused, not only in a way that breached...
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Thank you for contacting me about the growing number of people who came to the UK from the Commonwealth as children but who now face uncertainty over their status. Several cases have been highlighted where people have been denied the free NHS care they are entitled to or threatened with deportation. Some may even have...
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I am aware of the recent investigation by the Times which found that some supermarkets have labelled meat and dairy products using specific images and phrases to suggest higher animal welfare standards than what is the reality in many cases. There are no requirements for most food products (including meat, milk and dairy products) to...
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Supporting young people’s mental health is crucial, particularly through prevention and early intervention. On average, one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and 50% of mental health illnesses develop before the age of 14. Around one in ten children today have a clinically diagnosable mental health...
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I agree that this is an important issue. Globally, an estimated one billion people have a disability and 80% of that number live in developing countries. They face multiple challenges and significant levels of stigma and discrimination in schools, workplaces and accessing public services. At the same time, women remain under-represented and unheard around the...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by cystic fibrosis and I appreciate the strength of support for making Orkambi available on the NHS. Orkambi has been shown to slow decline in lung function by 42%, and cut the number of infections requiring hospitalisation by 61%. I understand that 240 patients in Scotland could benefit from...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone who is living with a physical condition and is in search of the most effective pain relief. I know that several organisations, including the MS Society, are campaigning for changes in drug laws to make cannabis available for medicinal use. While I do not agree with legalising cannabis for general...
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I agree that circuses are no place for wild animals and that this is a view shared not only by many animal welfare organisations, but also the vast majority of people in our constituency. The Scottish Government introduced the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill last year in response to ongoing welfare concerns. The...
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As you are aware, the Department for Transport has been seeking opinions on proposals to revise emissions and safety standards for specialist and converted vehicles. Currently, kit cars and reconstructed classic cars are tested to age-appropriate MOT standards, based on the date of manufacture or first use of the engine. The Government’s consultation has proposed...
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I appreciate that this is an important issue and I agree with the points you raise. As you note, since 2015, the UK Government has blocked new onshore wind projects by preventing them from accessing a route to market and imposing unique planning barriers to their construction south of the border. I believe this effective...
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There are approximately 12,000 EU nationals working across the Scottish health and social care sector. They are a skilled and valued group of workers and I believe it is important that they are provided with the certainty they need to continue living and working in the UK after Brexit. As you may be aware, health...
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On Friday I attended the House of Commons to vote in favour of the Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill. Disappointingly, rather than support the Bill, the Conservative Government decided to talk the Bill out meaning that there was not an opportunity for MPs to vote on the Bill. It is unlikely that the Bill...
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I appreciate that concerns have been raised about family reunion rules, the effectiveness of their implementation, and that a number of organisations have also called for there to be an expansion of the criteria. I agree that more needs to be done to reunite families and I share concerns about the efficiency of the processes...
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I have long supported a cap on energy price rises and believe we should go even further to lower bills. Between 2010 and 2016, household energy bills increased by 9.2% in real terms, while last year all of the “big six” energy companies announced dramatic increases to household energy prices. I do not believe such...
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I share concerns about the state of adult social care in the UK. As you know, the UK Government has repeatedly delayed finding a solution to the long-term funding of social care in England and I believe UK Government Ministers have been complacent over this issue at a time when the health and social care...
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I agree that it is important that blind and partially sighted people are able to use our streets and pavements safely. I also appreciate that street clutter can be a real problem for those who are blind or partially sighted, parents with pushchairs and wheelchair users. I was deeply concerned to read the findings of...
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I agree with you that hospital car parking in the UK should be free. Nobody goes to hospital because they want to, people go because they are sick. They go for treatment, for surgery and they go to visit loved ones. In short, hospitals are not destinations of choice: people go because they must. As...
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I share your concerns regarding the number of injuries related to fireworks. I believe it is vital that the misuse of fireworks is kept to a minimum and they are prevented from being a nuisance and a danger to both people and animals. Since January 2005 the sale of fireworks to the public has been...
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I sympathise profoundly with anybody who has been affected by bowel cancer and I pay tribute to Bowel Cancer UK in its ambition to drive improvements in diagnosis and treatment. Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. Every year, around 3,700 Scots are diagnosed with bowel cancer and 1,500 of those diagnosed...
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This is an important issue and I know that it will be of concern to many people in our area. I believe it is vital that we meet our climate change commitments and transition to a low-carbon economy. Recent years have seen a failure to make progress towards our climate targets and we need to...
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I agree that this is an important issue and I know that it will be of concern to many people in our area. I am fully committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal Four to ensure inclusive and quality education for all. Access to education ensures that people have an opportunity to get the...
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I strongly support action to safeguard habitats and species in the blue belts of the seas and oceans surrounding the UK. The UK Government has said that it is on track to deliver its Blue Belt manifesto commitment to work with Overseas Territory Governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection and has stated...
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I believe tackling climate change is an environmental and economic necessity. I also believe it is a question of social justice. The UK has a strong legacy of international leadership on these issues and it is important that we act to maintain this standing by working to tackle climate change both at home and in...
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I support lowering the voting age to 16 as I believe this will energise and engage young people and ensure their voices are heard. I also believe votes at 16 would strengthen our democracy and open it up to a new generation – as was quite clearly borne out in the Scottish Independence Referendum, where...
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I believe that the humane treatment of all animals should be a benchmark for any civilized society and it is very important that we send out a strong and powerful message that the illegal importation of puppies is a cruel practice that must stop. I am aware that Defra’s Chief Veterinary Officer has written to...
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I recognise that a number of concerns have been highlighted about the effectiveness of our asylum system where claims of torture are involved, including around the use of medical evidence. Indeed, It was concerning to read in Freedom from Torture’s “Proving Torture” report that of the asylum cases the organisation looked at involving claims of...
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I believe that parliament needs to be representative of communities across Britain and that we must make it easier for people to vote and engage in politics. At the 2017 General Election I stood on a manifesto which committed to establish a constitutional convention to look at reforming the way Britain works at a fundamental...
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I share concerns about punitive PIP assessments and their impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society. I was deeply concerned by the Disability Benefits Consortium’s recent findings that eight in every 10 of those facing PIP assessments find it make their health worse, and two thirds feel their claim was poorly represented...
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Our country has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution and, as we face the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, I believe we must continue to pay our part by taking our fair share of refugees. I have long believed that the government should be doing more to help...
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I appreciate that breastfeeding is widely accepted as the best form of nutrition for infants to ensure a good start in life and I recognise the positive health benefits of breastfeeding and its important role in reducing health inequalities. I know from UNICEF’s recent report on preventing disease finds that the NHS could save significant...
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The humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for any civilized society and I have long believed that the UK must lead the world on high animal welfare standards and in the fight against global animal cruelty. I am proud that in 1997 the UK Government banned the testing of cosmetics on animals. In...
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I appreciate that fuel prices have a serious impact on household budgets and businesses in Fife and across the country. It is important to ensure that competition is working, and that falls in the price of oil are reflected in the price we pay at the pump. I believe that a review of how to...
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I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by blood cancer and I pay tribute to Anthony Nolan Scotland for the work it does in conducting vital research and supporting those with this disease. Anthony Nolan and the NHS Stem Cell Registry have given thousands of people the opportunity to have a transplant where they previously may...
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I believe a pay rise for civil servants and public-sector workers, both in our constituency and across the country, is fair and affordable. Hard working people in the civil service and public sector deserve a pay rise after years of austerity and declining living standards. As you note, the UK Government announced in its civil...
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On September 18, 2014, the Scottish people were asked to make a “once in a generation” referendum decision on the future of the nation. The result was an overwhelming and decisive ‘no’, affirming the Scottish will to remain a part of the United Kingdom. In 2014, I campaigned for Scotland to remain part of the...
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