Hello and welcome to my Parliamentary report for May as your Member of Parliament for Gordon.
At Westminster, 'Partygate' and the fitness of the Prime Minister to hold public office continue to dominate discussion, as of course does the mounting cost of living crisis and the steps needed to tackle this.
Locally, I was able to take advantage of the Easter recess to make a number of visits to local businesses and community groups around the constituency.
My team and I are here to help you. If we can be of assistance to you, please call 020 3545 2236 or email [email protected] to get in touch.
20th April: Boris Johnson and 'Partygate' at PMQ's
Many constituents have been in touch in recent weeks to express their anger at the Prime Minister's behaviour during lockdown. Following the Prime Minister’s recent receipt of a Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking his own lockdown rules, I took the opportunity at PMQ's to deliver some long-overdue home truths.
“When is the Prime Minister going to realise that people don't want to hear any more glib, half-hearted, non-apologies or hear him witter on about 'getting on with the job'. They just want this Pinocchio Prime Minister to pack his bags and go.”
Radio 5 Live: “He [The Prime Minister] is not fit for office; he wasn't fit for office before he assumed it; nothing that he says inside or outside of Parliament can now be trusted and that is why he has to go.”
Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQFle98THfU
Hydrogen for Home Heating
I enjoyed meeting with SGN and Baxi Boilers in Westminster where we discussed the key role that hydrogen can play in decarbonising home heating.
Invasion of Ukraine: UK food Security
DEFRA Questions, Thursday 28 April 2022
"The conflict in Ukraine shows the fragility of many of our supply lines; and it has certainly increased the cost of many inputs and is disrupting the sector considerably. In order to minimise these effects, will the Secretary of State look again with his colleagues at having a more flexible immigration strategy; at uniting again on our sanitary and phytosanitary approach with the European Union, and take steps to make sure we are putting our food security on the same level as our energy security?"
22nd April: Any Questions?
I enjoyed taking part in Radio 4's 'Any Questions?' broadcast from Sheringham, Norfolk, where we had a good debate while answering questions from the audience. We discussed topics such as Partygate, house prices, the conflict in Ukraine and future energy needs.
Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0c2rz7h
Carbon Capture and Storage
This month I have continued dialogue with the Scottish Cluster campaign and remain 100% committed to supporting their efforts to develop this world leading technology in NE Scotland.
The UK Government's continued delays to the Acorn project is putting a potential 25,000 jobs at risk and threatens to undermine our wider future economic prospects. Acorn is integral to the long-term energy transition needed here in the North East. I will not rest in my campaign for the UK Government to give it the approval everyone knows is necessary.
Carbon Capture and Storage: Scotland - Asked 23 March 2022: Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending (a) support the Acorn Project in northeast Scotland and (b) other carbon capture usage and storage projects.”
Cost of Living Crisis
1st April: BBC News at One:
I appeared on BBC News at One talking about the cost of living crisis across the UK. The Chancellor's Spring Statement was woefully inadequate in terms of tackling the cost of living crisis. Higher than forecast tax revenues and lower than forecast borrowing have given the Chancellor ample scope to act to take the edge off bills and keep money in people's pockets - he should do so without delay.
Below is one of 7 questions I put to the Minister of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this month on energy supply asked 14 April 2022: Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
"To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date Ofgem first consulted on protecting credit balances as part of its supplier licencing review; and what estimate he has made of the value of credit balances subsequently mutualised as a result of supplier failures since that date."
Scottish Gas Customers
The energy price cap increased on 1st April. If you’re a Scottish Gas customer with energy debt of £250+ you could get a no strings grant to help you get ahead.
Guide Dogs ‘All Things Equal’ Campaign
I attended a Parliamentary event hosted by the charity Guide Dogs where I was able to discuss the issues facing young people with vision impairments.
Labour Shortage in Food and Farming Sectors
I welcomed the publication of a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee which condemns the UK Government failures to tackle labour shortages and warns that this will shrink the food sector permanently. I have repeatedly highlighted issues raised with me by North-east farmers, producers, processors and logistics firms regarding the restrictive immigration policies that cause issues for these industries.
Across the Constituency
BT Digital Voice pause
I spoke to That's TV Scotland on 31st March to welcome BT's decision to halt their 'Digital Voice' roll-out across the country. Concerns remain over its vulnerability during power cuts - assurances are needed that people can still make calls/use the internet/dial 999 even if their mains power goes off. My office is continuing to assist constituents with concerns about Digital Voice - please get in touch with my office if we can assist you.
17th April: Haddo Easter Egg Hunt
I had a wonderful afternoon helping out at the Haddo Easter Egg Hunt which was organised by Meldrum Rotary Club and Ellon Rotary Club. It was good to see so many families making the most of the day.
Visit to Ellon and District Men’s Shed
I enjoyed a visit to Ellon & District Men's Shed at the start of the month. It was good to have a look around and get a blether with some of the regulars.
Visit to Thainstone Mart
I visited the Thainstone Mart to help mark the ANM Group's 150th anniversary and to hear about the plans the group has for the years ahead.
Dyce Bank Discussion
Along with Dyce Councillor Neil MacGregor, I met senior Bank of Scotland officials to discuss the bank branch closure planned for 5th July.
Leith Hall Reopening
I attended the re-opening of Leith Hall, the historic National Trust for Scotland property near Kennethmont. I supported local efforts to re-open the property to the public as swiftly as possible following the property's closure due to the pandemic. Leith Hall is a tremendous asset to the National Trust for Scotland and a hugely popular local attraction. I’m delighted that the property is once again open to the public, particularly so now that we are working our way back to a new normality.
SSEN Distribution Engineer meeting
This month I visited Pitfichie Forest to meet with SSEN Distribution engineers carrying out maintenance work in the aftermath of recent storms. SSEN is responsible for the underground cables, overhead wires and substations which deliver the power to homes and businesses across the North of Scotland. While visiting the SSEN tree management team, we discussed the measures being taken by SSEN to maintain their network and protect power lines from falling trees, as well as how the company is working with landowners to ensure that necessary inspections and maintenance work can take place.
SSEN has established a £1m Resilient Communities Fund to assist communities to become more resilient in the face of severe weather events and prolonged power interruptions. The deadline for applications for grants has now been extended to 13 May.
In the News…
Scots mum's heartbreak as UK law stops teen daughter moving to America to join her family - https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scots-mums-heartbreak-uk-law-26578945
Man who exposed gun smugglers abandoned in Aberdeenshire with no ID - https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/pj-investigations/4145789/gun-smuggling-aberdeenshire/
MP highlights Falkland Islands Government competition for Aberdeenshire school pupils - https://www.grampianonline.co.uk/news/pupils-could-win-falklands-trip-273602/
Richard Thomson MP
Email – Richard[email protected]
Website – www.richardthomsonmp.com
Call – 020 3545 2236
Address - Unit F6 Enterprise Centre, Aberdeen Energy Park, Exploration Drive, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, AB23 8GX