Issues - My policy positions

Issues - My policy positions

Gaza Border Violence

Like other Members, I am absolutely appalled by what is happening in Palestine right now.

It is important to note that we in the SNP support the European Union position of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. We firmly encourage Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable, negotiated settlement under international law, based on mutual recognition and the determination to coexist peacefully. I, and other SNP MPs, will continue to engage with the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities through visits to the region and encourage them to work towards this.

What is crucial is that international law must be upheld and human rights must be respected.

The killing of demonstrators, including children, is both appalling and completely unacceptable. The heightened tensions in this long and protracted conflict has not been helped by the reckless move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Whilst I welcome the UK Government’s call for UN probe into deadly Israeli live fire against Palestinians, the UK Government really needs to find some more backbone. The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, didn’t even bother to come to the House to outline what the UK’s response would be. He, and the rest of the Government, need to make it clear to the government of Israel that its deadly actions against protesters will not be tolerated by the international community, and I will continue to press the Government on this matter.

Carers credits

New figures show that 4,000 people claimed carers credits in 2016/17 out of the 160,000 who could have done so.

If you are under state pension age and care for someone for at least 20 hours a week, you can claim a credit to help to ensure you get a full state pension when you retire.

One year of credits could fill a gap that could mean an extra £237 a year on a state pension if your pension contributions record is inadequate. Or it could boost a pension, in some circumstances, even if you already have 35 years' contributions.

To get these credits you must be caring for at least 20 hours a week for someone who gets one of the main non-means-tested disability benefits, such as attendance allowance or personal independence payment at the standard or enhanced rate.

Visit gov.uk and search "carer's credit".

Tags: benefit

EU Withdrawal Bill - Committee Stage

Whilst I still maintain it is wrong that Scotland be taken out of the EU against its wishes, and we should be working hard towards retaining our place in the Single Market, we still have important work to do to ensure the Brexit Bill protects everybody’s interests.

I have received a lot of messages from constituents regarding the Grieve amendments and delegated powers. These are extremely important, and several of my SNP colleagues across the House have sponsored these amendments.

We in the SNP are extremely concerned about the potential power grab the Brexit Bill throws up. The Bill is going to be an unprecedented legislative task, aiming to convert 80,000 items of EU law into UK law in preparation for Brexit, and we want to make sure that the Government does not use antiquated, backdoor measures – the so-called Henry VIII powers – to escape parliamentary scrutiny. We also need to ensure that the Great Repeal Bill does not turn into the ‘Great Power Grab’ and the Tories need to make it unequivocally clear that devolved matters will be returned to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit.

Should the Bill present such threats and the amendments address these concerns, I will vote in favour of the amendments, continue to hold the UK Government to account and continue to defend the interests of Scotland.

I myself have added my name to amendments and new clauses. As SNP Spokesperson for Defence, I aim to ensure our common foreign and security policy with the EU is not compromised as a result of Brexit and have added my name to amendments that address such issues. Additionally, as I was previously member of the Transport Select Committee, I have also added my name to an amendment that would ensure the UK Government outlines how we retain access to EU Emissions Trading System markets – as this is crucial to our environmental protection and safeguards.

These amendments, along with the UK Government's bizarre attempts to enshrine the date and time of Brexit into UK law, which could result in this Tory Government blundering its way to no deal, deserve to be heavily scrutinised, and I shall be doing my up-most to protect the interests of Glasgow South and Scotland as a whole.

Tags: brexit

Pension Credits

It's come to my attention that some constituents could be missing out on Pension Credit, with an average claim being worth about £2,000 a year.

Whilst each family entitled to the benefit, the DWP have said up to 1.4 million people on low income are missing out on a top-up to their state pension, with £3.3bn of Pension Credit still going unclaimed.

With around 1.9 million pensioners in the UK in poverty, it is deeply troubling that such a large number of these benefits remain unclaimed.

I would therefore urge people to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours to ensure they are claiming Pension Credit.

To check your full entitlement it's best to call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 991 234, Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm, or visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit, where a calculator can establish whether you may be eligible and how much you could receive.

Tags: benefit

Statement on #ScotRef

Yesterday the First Minister announced her intention to call a referendum on independence for Scotland.

The Scottish Government have spent the past nine months seeking compromise from the UK Government – from access to the EU single market, protection for EU nationals living in Scotland, and much more. The substantive plans laid out by the Scottish Government would’ve protected our nation’s interests, meaning an independence referendum could have been avoided. The UK Government has chosen to ignore this.

Since the decision taken on June 23rd last year, thousands of you have written to me, visited my surgeries and sent messages about your concerns. I have done my best to listen and represent you.

Whether or not you agree with independence or Brexit, the bulldozer approach of the UK Government is not in the interests of my constituents. It is why we will let you decide where power should lie to protect our interests - the Westminster Government or our Government in Scotland.

I understand that there will be some who may not welcome the prospect of a new referendum. To you, and to all of my constituents, I will make this promise to you.

As your MP I will do my best to ensure that the debate we have is civil, objective and non-tribal. I will promote a dialogue that listens respectfully to different opinions and does not call into question the motives of those who we have an honest disagreement with. I will make myself as accessible as possible to answer your questions and hear your point of view.

If, as I hope, a vote in favour of independence is successful then I am conscious that the following day there will be those who feel a sense of loss and possible anxiety. I will still be your MP and it will be my job to help ensure we can move forward in an objective and cohesive way.

What we face right now – irrespective of the constitutional status Scotland finds itself in – is the question of the renewal of Scotland. We all have our views on how that should happen and I look forward to hearing them from people right across the Southside.

Tags: scotref

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