My award winning eMagazine for Jan/Feb 2015.


Informative, accessible and award-winning – my latest eMagazine
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It’s been a busy start to the year with my Jobs & Skills Fair and Job Creation Powers (Scotland) Bill in Parliament which would fast-track the devolution of job creating powers to the Scottish Parliament.  That’s in addition to all the constituency events and debates in Parliament that I’ve attended.  Just click on the “Read More” buttons to read the full article. 

As always, you can contact me using the details below.

I’ve launched my updated website – – click this button to visit
Constituent Survey Summary

Thanks to all those constituents who completed my ‘Constituent Survey’ last month. 

It’s really important to get feedback from you, the people I was elected to represent.  With those responses, we can make changes to the way we do things, improving the service you receive.

My Jobs & Skills Fair
On February 6th, I held an Edinburgh-wide Jobs & Skills Fair at Augustine United Church.  The most common concerns people raise with me involve unemployment, skills and benefit.  While any fall in unemployment is welcome, the reality is that too many young people can’t take their first step into the jobs market.
I’ve heard directly from young people in South Edinburgh that they feel they lack the appropriate interview techniques and CV skills to progress into employment or just to have opportunities.  That’s why I organised my Jobs & Skills Fair.  A wide range of organisations took part such as Edinburgh College, Edinburgh Council, the Prince’s Trust, Skills Development Scotland and many more, to provide advice and information.
Read more
Midmar Paddock
I’m campaigning with the Friends of Hermitage group and concerned local residents to save the Midmar Paddock, a greenbelt site that has been put up for sale with ‘development potential’.  Midmar is such a beautiful gateway to the green lung of the City and is enjoyed by hundreds every week.  I hope you can join the campaign and you can sign the petition on my website.  Just click the read more button below.
Read more
Rotary Club of Braids recognition
I was thrilled to accept an Honorary Membership with the Rotary Club of Braids.  The Club does a tremendous amount of charity work every year.  One of my proudest achievements in Parliament was being successful in persuading the Government to change the Gift Aid rules to help charities like Rotary do more with the donations they work so hard to get.
Read more
Vegware – Local business success
Vegware is an award-winning local business located in Polwarth in the constituency.  It is a business which has been going from strength to strength in recent years with their innovative compostable food packaging products.  I visited the company, along with my MSP colleague Jackie Baillie, who is Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Finance.  It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities which Vegware face and to better understand what government can do to support business.
Read more
Visit to St Catherine’s Primary Pupil Council
On January 20th, I met with pupils from St Catherine’s Primary School who sit on the school’s Pupil Council.  The pupils are a credit to the school and it was great to hear about the work they are doing on behalf of their classmates.
Read more

Janet Sidaway – Newington Cemetery
This month’s guest blog is written by Janet Sidaway who leads a group of local people researching and promoting the history behind wonderful Newington Cemetery.  Thanks to Janet and the group for their contribution.

Read more
Other highlights…

  • Buckstone Youth Club funding pitch    Read more
  • Letter to Health Minister Shona Robison MSP    Read more
  • People Against Litter    Read more
All Parties should back my Job Creation Powers (Scotland) Bill
Last month, I introduced my Job Creation Powers (Scotland) Bill in the House of Commons.  My Bill will, as the cross-party Smith Agreement recommended, bring forward the immediate devolution of job creating powers to Scotland.  It is imperative that the powers of jobs creation come into Scotland’s hands as soon as possible.

You can read my Evening News article on my Bill by clicking here and click the read more button to read my speech upon introducing the Bill.

Read more
1,000 more NHS nurses
At the beginning of January, I attended a speech by Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy where he set out Scottish Labour’s commitment to the NHS in Scotland – to guarantee an additional 1,000 extra NHS Nurses.  We will do this by using money raised from the Mansion Tax that Labour will introduce on homes across the UK worth more than £2 million.
Read more
Giving communities their say on fracking
Fracking has been a hot topic since the start of the year and one which many constituents have contacted me about.
In Scotland, we have a beautiful landscape which we need to protect.  It would be reckless and unnecessary to push ahead with fracking without a proper review and safeguards in place.  That’s why Scottish Labour have comitted to introducing a triple-lock system to halt any onshore fracking taking place in Scotland until environmental and health safeguards are in place.  This involves:

  • a local referendum before final planning approval is given;
  • halting any fracking in Scotland until the lessons of fracking in the rest of the UK are learned; and
  • a comprehensive review of the baseline condition before any planning application is granted.
Read more
Signing the Book of Commitment
I signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment and in doing so pledged commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.
Read more
Speaking Up
Deputy Prime Minister Questions

I asked Nick Clegg about the dreadful uptake of individual voter registration  No matter how you vote, it’s important that everyone has the chance to vote.  I asked the Deputy Prime Minister what he plans to do about it to improve registration.
Read more
Questions to the Leader of the House
I was really concerned to hear about Edinburgh’s leading wave-technology company Pelamis going into administration in December.  I used Questions to the Leader of the House to raise it with the UK Government.
Read more
Other highlights…

BIS Questions
At monthly Business, Innovation and Skills Questions, I highlighted the dangerous position the Government is taking on the UK’s membership of the European Union and asked Vince Cable to clarify his position.

The EU undoubtedly needs reform but I believe it would be hugely risky for the UK to be out of this important union.

Read more
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Debate

I spoke in the backbench debate on TTIP, the proposed trade agreement between the EU and US.  It’s really important that this issue is debated in Parliament and that it gets the proper scrutiny it deserves.  Whilst no definitive agreement has yet been reached, the negotiations must be as transparent and accountable as possible.
I also write an op-ed for the New Statesman with my MEP colleague Jude Kirton-Darling – you can read it by clicking here

Read more
Tackling abuse of workers in global supply chains
In December, I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on tackling abuses, like slavery, in global supply chains.  It is terrible tragedies like the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that show the need to end exploitation in workplaces across the world.
Read more
Other highlights…

  • Post Office Mediation Scheme    Read more
Scottish Garden Scheme Open Day
Gilmour Road, EH16 5NS

Sunday 26th April from 2pm to 4pm

Come along to the Open Day to see what can be achieved in the way of garden design in surburan spaces.  At this time of year, the visitor will see a beautiful display of magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas, as well as an array of spring bulbs.

Craigmillar Park Bowling Club which is a well used community resource in Gilmour Road will be the venue for the sale of entrance tickets to the seven gardens taking part in the scheme, information booklet/map, a plant stall and most importantly refreshments which will include tea/coffee, home baking.

The cost per visitor is £5
Disabled Parking: Partial
The chosen charity for Gilmour Road SGS Open Day is Alzheimer Scotland

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