February Newsletter Text Only Version
Richard Thomson MP
Gordon Parliamentary Newsletter
A message from Richard Thomson MP
Hello and welcome to my February Parliamentary report. Here you will find details on the activities I’ve been involved in over the previous month as your MP.
I've received a lot of correspondence this month from constituents expressing their opposition to the Retained EU Law Bill, with which the Conservatives plan to scrap swathes of existing laws and standards in the UK, without scrutiny, debate or it seems any care for the potential consequences.
I will host a Cost of Living drop-in event at Inverurie Town Hall on Friday 10th February. I will be available for surgeries between noon and 4 pm, and many organisations will be present to offer help and advice on bills and more. Everyone is welcome to join me there, but as ever, if I can assist you in any way, please email richard[email protected] or call 020 3545 2236 to get in touch.
Richard Thomson MP
Tory Lords' Lamb Comments
It is beyond belief that, in one of his first acts as a Minister, responsible for promoting UK farming internationally, the unelected Lord Johnson of Lainston repeated a bizarre claim made by fellow unelected Tory Lord Hannan of Kinsclere to the effect that it is 'better for the environment' to import lamb from New Zealand than it is to eat lamb produced in Scotland and the UK.
Following these outrageous remarks, I called for a "silence of the bams" on this subject...
Nadhim Zahawi's Tax Affairs
Rishi Sunak vowed to lead a Government of integrity. However, his clear reluctance to take action over the fact that his chosen Conservative party Chairman, Nadhim Zahawi, had been investigated and sanctioned by the HMRC during his 63-day stint as Chancellor, demonstrated just how weak and out of touch the Prime Minister is.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland prior to his inevitable departure from office, I highlighted Mr Zahawi's use of lawyers to bully and intimidate those seeking answers to legitimate concerns about his tax affairs.
Visit to Welsh Senedd
I had the opportunity this month to visit the Welsh Senedd to see First Minister's Questions there and also to 'catch up' with Adam Price AS/MS, leader of the opposition and leader of Plaid Cymru. We discussed our respective parties' shared commitment to independence and the aim of building a fair and equal society for all.
Meeting with Agricultural Industries Confederation
I met in Westminster with representatives of the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) to discuss the agri-supply industry's role in sustainable food production. It was a valuable opportunity to be briefed by the AIC on key issues currently facing the agriculture industry. We discussed the energy crisis, fertiliser costs and food security in depth.
UK Gender Reform Veto
On the 17th of January, the UK Government blocked the Scottish Parliament's Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would have 'de-medicalised' the existing process for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) by allowing for self-identification.
Under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, a GRC allows a Trans person to be legally recognised as the gender they live in on birth, marriage and death certificates. Possession (or not) of a GRC has nothing to do with whether someone has had or intends to have sex-change surgery, or indeed with 'single-sex spaces' - a matter already dealt with by the 2010 Equality Act.
In the last few weeks, Spain and Finland voted to join the 300 million people in over 30 other countries which already allow self-ID. The UK Government has been recognising GRCs from many of these countries for years, but only began to see a 'problem' when Scotland voted to do the same. In my view, the use of this veto is a cynical and shameful attack not just on Scotland's Parliament, but also on one of the most discriminated against and marginalised groups in our society.
Retained EU Law Bill
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill shall annul the majority of EU Law so that it expires on the 31st of December 2023, regardless of which laws or how necessary those continue to be. The Bill covers over 4,000 pieces of legislation, including subjects devolved to the Scottish Parliament, such as education, environment and agriculture.
I and others on the opposition benches voted against this Bill on the 3rd reading on the 18th of January. However, the Government won the vote with a majority of 59.
Much of the Brexit pursued by the UK Government has been puerile, flag-waving ideologically-driven idiocy, which has left us poorer and diminished in the world.
This Bill has the ability to actively harm businesses and consumers by leaving them unprotected in law. The consequences could be severe.
31st January: Question to the Foreign Secretary
“What recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the implementation of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement”
Following the Foreign Secretary's answer, I asked him if he could think of any aspect of our prosperity or standing that had been enhanced by Brexit. Unsurprisingly, he could not seem to think of an answer.
Richard on the Radio
Times Radio Drive Time
On 22 January, I appeared on Times Radio's weekend 'political panel' alongside MPs Peter Aldous & Catherine West, and 'Conservative Home' blogger Henry Hill.
LBC 'Cross Question' with Iain Dale
On 23 January, I also took part in the 'Cross Talk' panel on Iain Dale's LBC show. Click here to watch.
Across the Constituency
Visit to Laings of Inverurie
I visited Laings of Inverurie to present them with the 'Early Day Motion' which I sponsored in Parliament in December, celebrating the company's 160th Anniversary and acknowledging the importance of independent businesses like Laings to the retail sector.
Afterwards, I enjoyed a tour of their facilities and finished by experiencing a 3D tour of a virtual 'showhouse' featuring some of their products.
Funding for Just Transition Projects Across Gordon
9th December - Briefing with "Opportunity North-East"
A number of local organisations were sucessful in their bids to the Scottish Government's £500 million 'Just Transition' programme, which is exclusively benefits North East Scotland.
My particular congratulations go to the successful organisations based in Gordon, which were:
Burns Night in the House of Commons
Together with my SNP MP colleague Peter Grant, I had a great opportunity to play alongside some members of the fantastic Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra in the 'Strangers' bar of the House of Commons to help celebrate Burns Night.
Upcoming Advice Surgery - Friday 10 February
I will be hosting a special Cost of Living Advice event where you can access help and advice on bills, the cost of living, and more from a range of organisations, including:
When: Friday 10 February, from 12pm to 4pm
Where: Town Hall, Market Square, Inverurie.
Disabled access available; bus stops immediately adjacent venue; railway station approx. 350 yards.
No appointments necessary, if required, appointment slots can be booked in advance through my office. A private interview room will be available.
In the news...
MP Condemns Calls to Charge Patients for Using NHS (23 January, read here)
House of Lords Peers Demean UK Lamb in the Face of NZ Imports (22 January, read here)
Foreign Secretary admits UK exit from EU has been 'tricky' (31 January, read here)
MP Urges Gordon Residents Not to Lose Their Vote (20 January, read here)
North-east Projects Receive Major Rural & Island Communities Ideas into Action Funding Boost (4 January, read here)
Local MP to host cost-of-living advice event in Inverurie (28 January, read here)
Thank you for reading,
Richard Thomson MP
Email – [email protected]
Website – www.richardthomsonmp.com
Telephone – 020 3545 2236
Address - Unit F6, Enterprise Centre, Exploration Drive, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, AB23 8GX