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COMMENT: UKRAINE AND CONSTITUENCY UPDATES


The awful events in Ukraine have inevitably dominated Parliament’s proceedings recently. Vladimir Putin’s actions amount to a murderous crime against international law. He has launched an unprovoked assault on the sovereign territory of another country. I don’t think even he believes his own claim that he’s acting in self defence.

Britain should be acting with speed and with full force to impose sanctions that will hurt Putin and his circle of billionaires. We also need to try as far as possible not to do things that hurt ordinary Russians – they are not the problem, and many of them have shown immense courage in speaking out against Putin’s actions. Britain should also be moving swiftly to provide humanitarian aid and to be ready to welcome some of the millions of Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homeland. It was noticeable that some of Europe’s poorest countries were among the first to offer support for Ukrainian refugees. It’s sad but not too surprising that whether it’s in imposing meaningful sanctions or offering support to refugees the British Government’s response was much slower and more half hearted than most EU countries.

There’s a small number of Ukrainian nationals living in my constituency and they are naturally very worried about their loved ones back in Ukraine. My constituency team are ready to offer whatever support we can to help anyone affected by these appalling events.

The gradual lifting of covid restrictions has meant I’ve been able to get out and about a bit more in the constituency. As part of #ScotlandLovesLocal, a campaign to encourage us all to support our local independent traders, I was made very welcome at Hutchison’s Fresh Fish in Cadham, The Wee Thistle shop in the Kingdom Centre, the Gillytree Studio in Woodside and Sherry Creations bakery at the Glamis Centre. Four very different businesses but they all share a real love for what they’re doing and a passion for quality. I’m hoping to be able to organise similar visits throughout the constituency in the not too distant future.

In a couple of weeks time I’ll be joining colleagues on the Public Accounts Committee to quiz bosses at the DWP and Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to see what they’ve done to improve the CMS’s performance in recent years. As part of our enquiry the Committee is very keen to hear people’s experiences (good or bad), especially during the last two or three years. If you’d like to submit your comments you can do this on the Public Accounts Committee web page, or contact my office and we’ll send you the details.

I’m also still following up a large number of cases where people had to wait an outrageous time to get their driving licence issued or renewed. There’s been a real problem for people who have a medical condition or disability that needs to be reported to DVLA as this is leading to delays of six months or more for some people - while those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy good health usually get our licences issued in a few days. If you’ve been kept waiting for your driving licence to arrive please get in touch.

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