Read my award winning eMagazine for June 2015.


My first eMagazine of the new Parliamentary term
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I want to start the update by saying a big thank you. In the early hours of Friday 8th May, I was re-elected to serve for a further five years as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South.

I’m so thankful to those who put their trust in me, who turned out to have their say, and those who have helped to make the democratic system work.

I want to thank a number of people who made the election possible:

  • every single person who voted in the election, whether you voted for me or not;
  • the returning officer, her staff who stayed up late to administer and count the votes, and her staff who woke up early to staff the polling stations. Without them, the election just wouldn’t happen; and
  • the police who ensured a safe and secure election.

I also want to thank my fellow candidates. It is not an easy process putting yourself forward for election. At all times, we had a vigorous but fair challenge of ideas – so my gratitude goes to Pramod, Colin, Phyl, Neil, Miles and Paul.

Lastly I want to thank the volunteers, staff and members of the local Labour Party who campaigned for me. There has been a lot written about the election in Edinburgh South, and too little of the analysis has been devoted to those kind people who gave up literally thousands of hours to help convince their neighbours, deliver leaflets and spread the message.

Thank you to all, and I pledge to honour the trust you have put in me.

I will not let you down.

You can watch my acceptance speech by clicking the play button below.


New advice sessions

Following my survey to constituents earlier this year, I have made some changes to my regular advice sessions. You can now seek advice at the following times and locations:

  • Every Monday at 9.15am (by appointment only)
  • Every Friday at 9.15am (drop-in)
  • Every 3rd Saturday of the month:
    • 10am – Waitrose, Morningside Road
    • 11am – Morrisons, Gilmerton Road
    • 12 noon – Sainsbury’s, Cameron Toll
Royal Blind School Family Fun Day
Last week, I visited the new Royal Blind School campus at Canaan Lane for the school’s family fun day. It is always a delight to visit the school and I’m incredibly proud to have such a great facility in my constituency.

I enjoyed an afternoon of entertainment from the pupils. A fantastic day for all those involved.

Read more
Update – Local Development Plan (LDP2)
Last month, the Council passed the Local Development Plan (LDP), which sets out areas for potential housing development across the city. Alongside thousands of local residents, I’ve made clear the detrimental impact these developments could have on our local neighbourhoods. The plan will now be considered by the Scottish Government before being finally adopted.

This whole process has shown that the planning system is not fit for purpose. Click the ‘Read More’ button for my take.

Read more
Marie Curie Hospice Fete
The Marie Curie Hospice here in South Edinburgh does an outstanding job caring for those with terminal illnesses and supporting their families.

I popped along to their recent Summer Fete to chat with staff and support their fundraising efforts. It’s crucial they raise as much money as possible so they can continue to provide such a vital service.

Read more
Splat the MP!
Ahead of the General Election, I made a big commitment…a commitment that if I was re-elected, I would let pupils from St Peter’s Primary drench me with wet sponges at their Splat the MP! stall. 

This was part of their recent summer fete. I think I’ve just about dried off!

Read more
Walk of Fame – Guide Dogs UK
I was delighted to receive a star on Guide Dogs’ pavement parking Walk of Fame for supporting the charity’s campaign to stop cars parking on pavements.

Blind and partially sighted people need to be able to walk the streets with confidence. This is an issue I’ll be following closely in the coming months.

Read more
Bees lobby of Parliament
Many may not realise but bees are really important for UK food production and our economy.

I attended an event organised by Friends of the Earth to update MPs on recent developments. Whilst the European Union ban on the use of harmful pesticides is still in place, more can be done by government to protect bees and our natural environment.

Read more
#ForTheLoveOf – Climate Coalition
On Wednesday, thousands of people descended on Parliament for the climate lobby #ForTheLoveOfLast to urge MPs and the Government to act on climate change.

I met with campaigner Justina Stonyte to talk about what we need to do to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Read more
A new frontbench role
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Scotland Bill
Last week, the Scotland Bill had its Second Reading. This is one of the first Bills to be introduced in Parliament. This Bill is hugely important because when Scotland voted no at the referendum last year, we didn’t vote for there to be no change.

The Scotland Bill, borne out of the cross-party agreement of the Smith Commission, will create a powerhouse Scottish Parliament, which maintains the benefits of pooling and sharing principle from across the UK. However, Labour want to go further in a number of areas, particularly welfare.

The Bill has now moved to the committee stage where it will be considered line-by-line and I’ll be tabling amendments to reflect those changes we can make, and I hope that all parties will vote for them.

You can read my column in the Edinburgh Evening News on this issue – click here

Read more
My first Scottish Questions

I used my first opportunity at the despatch box as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland to question the Government on child poverty and full fiscal autonomy.

I find it deeply worrying that of the children in Scotland who are classed as being in poverty, over 60% have parents in work. We can’t ignore that and the Minister needs to act quickly.

On full fiscal autonomy, I asked whether the government would support Labour’s amendment for a commission to assess the impact of the SNP’s policy.

You can read more and watch clips from the Commons by clicking the ‘Read more’ button below.

Read more
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