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Many congratulations to Humza Yousaf who was elected as SNP leader and has now been sworn in as Scotland’s First Minister after securing the support of the Scottish Parliament. Humza’s new Government is already in place and while the rest of us are enjoying some down time over Easter I’ve no doubt the new Cabinet will be working hard familiarising themselves with their new responsibilities. A very special congratulations goes to Mid Fife & Glenrothes MSP Jenny Gilruth who has joined the Cabinet as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills. This is one of the biggest jobs in the Scottish Government and I’m sure Jenny’s time as a teacher will stand her in good stead.

The leadership election was closer than many people predicted with Kate Forbes MSP getting over 40% of first preference votes. She deserves to be commended for the gracious way she congratulated Humza after the result was announced. While I disagree strongly with some of the things she said during the leadership campaign she is an immensely talented and dedicated politician who I’ve no doubt will be back in the Cabinet at some time.

The Government’s anti refugee Immigration Bill was back in Parliament last week for its “Committee Stage”. This is supposed to be where every clause of the Bill is given “line by line scrutiny” and where MPs are supposed to have the chance to vote on possible amendments. The Government timetabled the bill to allow just over 10 minutes for each clause. Even then a big chunk of the time was taken up by minister just reading from speeches someone had written for them and refusing point blank to answer any of the questions raised by MP during the debate. Out of over a hundred amendments submitted by MPs from all sides we were allowed to vote on just nine of them. This is the reality of how “parliamentary democracy” works in the United Kingdom Parliament.

I was very concerned to hear that BUPA Dental Care intend to close their NHS dental surgery on Leslie High Street. Across the UK they are closing around 80practices and some newspapers have reported that about half a million patients are affected. BUPA say they’re writing to every patient to tell them what options there are for them to register with a new practice. This is a crisis that’s been developing for some time. A very early move by the SNP when we were first in Government was to set up number of new dental surgeries including the ones at Glenwood and Leslie (Anderson Drive) and there’s no doubt this made a huge difference at the time. I’ve arranged an online meeting with BUPA to discuss the situation in more detail and I’m also writing to the Scottish Government and NHS Fife to ask them to ensure that everyone is able to not only get registered with an NHS Dentist but is able to actually get appointments when they need them.

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