A VOICE FROM WESTMINSTER
The first week back after the autumn recess was difficult for everyone at parliament as we tried to come to terms with the killing of Sir David Amess and the death from lung cancer of James Brokenshire at just 53 years old. David was well liked and respected right across political divides and it’s become obvious to us all that he was loved by his constituents. James was maybe less well known outside the “Westminster bubble” but inside Parliament we knew him as an extremely capable and hardworking government minister and as a truly kind and caring man. It surprises some people when I speak so highly of people who support a government I’m diametrically opposed to but I believe one of the most important rules in any argument is to accept that people can very genuinely and sincerely hold opinions that are completely different from mine.
The circumstances of David’s death have once again raised questions about the safety of MPs and our staff when we’re out and about meeting people in our constituencies. This is a vital part of the role of any elected representative and it would be an extremely sad day if we had to have security guards following us everywhere.
I had a very useful online meeting with representatives of the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland to hear more about the many challenges facing small business in Fife and elsewhere, and of the support they need from the UK and Scottish Governments to get them through what is still a very difficult period. A couple of days later I led for the SNP in a debate on this very subject and was able to contrast the approach the Scottish Government has taken compared to what’s happened down south.
I was pleased to visit Diageo in Leven to hear about the “solar farm” they’re planning to build on part of their site. This is just one of the initiatives they’re taking to reduce the carbon impact of their operations. On a trip round the bottling plant I gently chided them (as I always do) for the fact that some of their best known brands are labelled in a way that suggests they’re made in London rather than here in Fife. Workers at Cameron Brig are producing some of the finest brands of spirits anywhere (and contributing massively to the UK Treasury!) and they deserve to be given proper credit for it.
My duties in the debating chamber meant I didn’t manage to get to the official launch of this year’s Poppy Scotland appeal. It’s always good to hear about the great work they’re doing to support ex Service personnel. As always, I’m arranging to have wreaths laid at every war memorial service in the constituency on Remembrance Sunday.