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It was a great pleasure to be able to attend the Highland Games when they returned to Bowhill for the first time in 69 years. Any event like this requires a massive amount of planning and this was even more true this time. The whole community owes a big Thank You to all the volunteers who made it possible, the businesses and individuals whose financial support was absolutely critical, and of course to the spectators who turned up on the day. The weather could not have been better and I’m sure the stallholders will have been pleased by how busy they were. I look forward to the 2022 games being even better.

On Monday I got “pinged” by the NHS Covid app while I was waiting for my flight to London so I’d no option but to leave the airport and drive home again (I was lucky enough to be able to book a Covid test on the way home and as I write this I’m isolating waiting for the results). From the information I got on the app, the only place I could have been in close contact with someone who later tested positive was in parliament. This is now happening nearly every time I go to Westminster. It’s not much fun for MPs when we have to isolate and miss votes but it’s a real worry for the hundreds of parliamentary staff when they see how recklessly many MPs ignore even the most basic Covid precautions. It’s so bad now that male MPs can be asked to leave the chamber if we don’t wear a jacket but nobody says anything if we sit in a crowded chamber without a face mask.

In the space of just over a week we’ve seen the UK Government use its parliamentary majority to force through a string of measures that will hit hard at people on low incomes. They voted against their own manifesto promise to increase National Insurance contributions so that people in low paid jobs will pay more but wealthy folk who make their money out of owning property won’t be affected. They voted to cut Universal Credit and some other benefits by £20 a week despite being told this would plunge people into poverty. And they’ve put forward legislation to break yet another promise and water down the guarantees they’ve previously given on people’s pensions.

I and my colleagues will continue to oppose all these cuts but there’s something seriously wrong with the system if it allows such an uncaring Government to impose these policies that we have so decisively rejected at the ballot box.

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