I was pleased to attend the launch of this year's Open Doors World Watch List Report where I heard first-hand about the escalating persecution of Christians around the world. The right to freedom of religion or belief is central to the human experience and should be defended fiercely. You can find more information at: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/
Today we have "the meaningful vote" - and in accordance with the overwhelming views of constituents who have contacted me, and in line with the manifesto I stood for election on in 2017, I will be voting against draft Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated by the Prime Minister.
I took part in this debate almost six weeks ago - just before the Prime Minister postponed the vote - to explain why.
I will not vote for a deal that would deprive my constituents, and future generations, of so many of the benefits and opportunities of EU membership that my generation has enjoyed. The Prime Minister said that her deal “ends free movement once and for all.” If that is the best thing that she can say about it, it is a rotten deal. I dearly hope that the UK will step back from the brink of the disaster that is Brexit, but the very fact that we have even come this far makes the case for Scotland forging its own future as an independent nation state within the European Union.
It was great to get along to Asda Cumbernauld last week to hear how they are working with Drinkaware again to increase knowledge about how much alcohol we are consuming, the impact on our health & how we can cut back. Thanks to Cumbernauld staff for inviting me along! For more click here.
I also heard more about how they support the local community. Every large store has a Community Champion and the autonomy to support the groups and good causes that matter most to their local area. They also open up their store, free of charge, to local groups and good causes – using their foyer space, training rooms, wi-fi, cafes and car parks to provide space for the community to come together.
The Asda Foundation also offers several different funding streams for local community projects, large and small, and you can find out more about this at https://www.asdafoundation.org/what-we-fund.
You can also contact Lynne Morrison, the Asda Cumbernauld Community Champion, at Community_Cumbernauld@asda.co.uk or on 01236 855 000 ext 222.
Two separate proposals have recently been lodged with North Lanarkshire Council's planning department for developments including cinemas for Cumbernauld - one for Westway Retail Park and one for the Town Centre.
You can view these proposals, and contribute to the consultations here, using these references:
Westway Retail Park: 18/01750/PPP
Town Centre: 18/01786/PPP
I wrote, along with Jamie Hepburn MSP to Network Rail in mid-December highlighting concerns about the closure of one of the Croy Station car parks for resurfacing works.
We received their initial reply today saying they have asked Scotrail, who instructed the works, to get back to us as soon as possible.
Councillor Alan Masterton, Cumbernauld North - SNP has also been working on this issue and has posted this update.
Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas when it comes!
Final serious post until after, and that is to reflect on the many thousands of families who are split apart and won’t be together for Christmas because of the notoriously draconian anti-family immigration rules introduced by Theresa May. These rules affect my constituents, just as they affect people across the UK. The UK govt wants to apply these horrible rules to even more families. My colleagues and I will instead continue to campaign for them to be scrapped.
You can read more here.
Responding to the UK White Paper on Immigration - "these policies will make the UK poorer economically, socially and in terms of opportunity. They do not signify a “global Britain” - but an inward-looking Tory government and a Prime Minister obsessed with net migration targets.
"When the government talks about 'taking back control of our borders”' what it means is ripping up mutual rights to live, study, work and to enjoy family life across Europe – depriving future generations of the amazing opportunities that our generations have enjoyed. Free movement has been brilliant for our people, and brilliant for Scotland and the UK too".
Always happy to show support for #VotesAt16 - it has worked well in Scottish Parliament and Scottish local elections and in the 2014 referendum. Must be applied to Westminster votes too!
Given the austerity and Brexit havoc the Conservative Government has served up for my constituents and the country as a whole, I was only too happy to join colleagues in the SNP as well as Plaid, Greens and Libs in signing this motion of no confidence in the government this evening.
But we still realistically need the so-called ‘official opposition’ to sign up to make sure it is debated and voted on. Time for Mr Corbyn to get his act together - but I’m not holding my breath.
Happy #ChristmasJumperDay everyone! I’m supporting Save the Children UK and so can you....Pull on a jumper and get involved, and text DONATE to 70050 to donate £2 to Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day. Visit christmasjumperday.org for all the details.