This week the EU Withdrawal Bill stumbled gracelessly through Westminster and the chaos of Brexit; unplanned, ill-considered and disorganised from a government with no idea what it's doing or why – and the Bill itself robs powers away from the Scottish Parliament, the Senned and Stormont. The SNP, of course, opposes this power-grab – it's not democratic and it's a threat to the devolution settlement. It also gives unprecedented power to Ministers to amend laws without bothering with winning votes and suchlike old-fashioned stuff. It has passed the first hurdle but there's a long way to go and we'll do our best to try to get some sense, decency and clarity into it.
Fair Pay Debate
I took part in a debate on public sector pay this week as the SNP's Fair Work and Employment Spokesperson. Judging by the jeers, it seems the Tories didn't much like me pointing out that poverty is a political choice being made by millionaires (you can read my speech or watch clips here). Also worth a watch is the Tory MP for Copeland's contribution where she offers a novel solution to the challenge of recruiting enough doctors – bring them in without degrees!
Immigration and free movement
There's worrying evidence that all the xenophobic rhetoric and uncertainty of Brexit is causing increased discrimination and hostility towards non-UK born Europeans. This is something I raised in debate this week. The question is, even if we have jobs after European businesses abandon the post Brexit little Britain, will our friends and neighbours still want to come to a place that treats people this way?
I also raised the issue of visa difficulties for festival performers - something the UK Culture Secretary seemed unaware was even a problem. The SNP and the Scottish Government will keep holding its ground and fighting for fairer immigration rules and free movement to remain for all EU citizens in Scotland, and to make sure that everyone remains welcome here.
Away from the chamber I had meetings in my role as Northern Ireland spokesperson and a productive chat with Judith Donovan of the 'Keep Me Posted' campaign - they are seeking to make sure consumers keep the choice between paper copies of bills and bank statements and digital copies, and end the extra charges for paper. They have a lot of support from consumer groups, disability and age related charities.
Surgeries and constituency work
Summer may just have ended but there's a three week break from parliament so that Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem MPs can go to their conferences – returning to work just in time for the SNP one.
During this time I'll be holding a couple of extra surgeries as well as cracking on with my usual constituency work.
The additional surgeries are on Friday, 22nd September from 12-1pm when I'll be at West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre (19 West Pilton Grove EH4 4BY) and Tuesday, 26th September from 11am-12noon at Waitrose Comely Bank in the Community Room (38 Comely Bank Road, Edinburgh, EH4 1AW)
All surgeries are listed at dbrockmp.scot