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Month: August 2016

Helen’s Law

Helen’s Law

While I understand the deep upset that the murder of a relative or loved one causes, and that this must be greatly amplified when the remains are not available for burial and a sense of closure, the kind of change in law that is advocated by this campaign would be quite complex and require consideration of a wide range of factors that would need to be carefully balanced.   As you may be aware, responsibility for the criminal justice system…

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Pensions Act 1995 – Section 75

Pensions Act 1995 – Section 75

I can assure you that the SNP share your concerns. As you may be aware, the UK Government launched a consultation on the ‘employer debt’ regulations in March 2015 to look at this very issue. My SNP colleagues and I have called on the UK Government to publish their response to this important matter urgently in order to support struggling small businesses and help protect scheme members. We must be mindful that the purpose of these rules is to protect pension…

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Christians in the Middle East

Christians in the Middle East

The way that Christians, Yazidis and other minorities are being targeted in the areas controlled by Daesh across Syria and Iraq is appalling.   The plight of the Christian community in Syria and Iraq is of deep concern to me. The SNP at Westminster has been raising the issue by contributing to debate in Parliament in March earlier this year and SNP MP Brendan O’Hara hosted a special roundtable session with Nadia Murad, an inspirational young Yazidi woman. We will…

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Letting Agent Fees

Letting Agent Fees

Letting agencies are subject to a separate legal system in Scotland from the rest of the UK. In Scotland, it is illegal for letting agencies to charge you for certain things before you agree to rent a property. For example, they cannot charge you for registering with them or for providing you with a list of properties and they cannot ask for a deposit before they have found you a property.   Once the agency has found you a property,…

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Pitchford Enquiry

Pitchford Enquiry

The Pitchford Inquiry does not extend to Scotland and its current remit is only to report on undercover police operations conducted by police forces in England and Wales since 1968.   Both myself, MP and MSP colleagues as well as the Scottish Government are extremely disappointed that the new Prime Minister – and former Home Secretary – Theresa May, has decided the inquiry will not examine events that took place in Scotland nor the activities of undercover officers who operated…

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Future of our Seas Post-Brexit

Future of our Seas Post-Brexit

A great deal of the environmental legislation that protects our marine environment comes from the European Union. The best way to ensure that we continue building on the progress that has already been made is to protect Scotland’s place within the EU.   Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, including in Aberdeenshire and the Western Isles, where fishing is still a big part of the rural economy. My colleagues in the Scottish Government are focused on doing all…

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Sex-selective Abortion

Sex-selective Abortion

This practice is rightly illegal under the Abortion Act 1967. You may be aware that the Scotland Act 2016 has devolved control of abortion law to the Scottish Parliament, and the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made her view clear that the Scottish Government is not inclined to make any changes to existing abortion laws. In respect of the specific case that you mention, I am sure you will understand that I am unable to involve myself in legal matters….

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Bees and Neonicotinoids

Bees and Neonicotinoids

I share your deep concern about the worldwide decline in bee population.   The current position in Scotland is that European Union legislation does not allow three neonicotinoid insecticides to be used on crops with flowers that are attractive to bees. The restrictions came into force on 1 December 2013. None of the areas which received exemptions from the NFU appeal are in Scotland.   The European Commission has begun a review, and will be considering research findings that have…

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