REPORTER COLUMN: BROADBAND IS NOW AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP for West Dunbartonshire.

Over the past 16 months, one issue the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted is the importance to our communities of having access to fast and reliable broadband.

Whether for work, study, entertainment or staying connected with friends and family – good digital connectivity has become as essential as the supply of water and energy to our homes and businesses.

Continue reading “REPORTER COLUMN: BROADBAND IS NOW AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE”

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE’S MP SLAMS TORIES OVER ‘CALLOUS’ PLANS TO CUT UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP speaking in the House of Commons (June 2021)

SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has slammed the UK government over its decision to press ahead with ‘callous’ cuts to Universal Credit which he says will hit thousands of hard-pressed families in West Dunbartonshire. Continue reading “WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE’S MP SLAMS TORIES OVER ‘CALLOUS’ PLANS TO CUT UNIVERSAL CREDIT”

MARTIN LEADS CALLS FOR UK GOVT TO INTERVENE OVER ARBITRARY DETENTION OF JAGTAR SINGH JOHAL

West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has led a debate in the House of Commons (30 June 2021) calling on the UK government to intervene over the arbitrary detention in India of his constituent Jagtar Singh Johal.

34 year old Jagtar from Dumbarton, known as ‘Jaggi’, has been detained without trial in India since 4 November 2017 after travelling to the Punjab for his wedding.

The Sikh activist is facing charges which carry a possible death sentence, following accusations by the Indian authorities that he was involved in a plot to destabilise the Punjab region by assassinating Hindu leaders.

Jagtar’s family in Dumbarton maintain he is innocent, and suggest Jaggi is being held as a political prisoner because he sought to draw attention to human rights abuses against India’s Sikh population in an online blog.

No evidence against Jaggi has been brought forward, apart from a video-taped ‘confession’ which his legal team say he was forced into after being severely tortured over a number of days during his early detention.

International human rights charities including Reprieve and Redress have expressed concerns about Jagtar’s torture and mistreatment in India. They say the circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment for almost four years without trial or bail amounts to an arbitrary detention.

The UK Foreign Secretary has been accused by the family’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes of turning a blind eye to Jagtar’s plight, despite a cross-party group of MPs calling on Dominic Raab to intervene.

Martin has raised the case of Jagtar Singh Johal with Ministers almost 20 times since first raising a Point of Order in Parliament on 15 November 2017.

Speaking during the debate, which included contributions from a cross-party group of MPs, Martin said:

“Jagtar has now been detained for 1,335 days without any substantial charges being brought in the case—that is coming up to four years. We know that the FCDO had been looking at a designation of arbitrary detention and, from conversations with Ministers of all levels, we know that they have been thinking about this for some time.

“In January, we were glad of the estimation made by the charity Redress that Jagtar’s detention was an arbitrary one, and even more so when a cross-party group of 140 MPs signed a letter to the Foreign Secretary asking him to ensure that the FCDO intervenes to secure Jagtar’s release, as he himself is on record restating the policy quite recently.”

Martin added:

“Three prime ministers, four foreign secretaries and so many under-secretaries I have lost count… what will it take for the UK government to answer the question, is this or is this not arbitrary detention?

“Jagtar Singh Johal is a husband, a son, a grandson, a brother, an uncle, and a son of the Rock of Dumbarton. He is arbitrarily detained in India. Why can the United Kingdom Government not recognise that? Let us get Jaggi released: let us bring him back to Scotland and let him see his family.”

Watch the Westminster Hall debate in full here: https://tinyurl.com/vc3kwvab

Read the Hansard transcript of the debate here: https://tinyurl.com/cx4ktm69

COVID-19: LET’S KEEP WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE ON THE RIGHT TRACK

It’s been an exciting time for many in Dumbarton as covid restrictions in West Dunbartonshire continue to ease thanks to the fantastic progress we’ve made locally in tackling the virus.

At the time of writing, covid case numbers here are some of the lowest in the country – with West Dunbartonshire recording just 9 cases per 100,000 people in the week up till 18th May, and a seven-day test positivity rate of just 0.3%. Continue reading “COVID-19: LET’S KEEP WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE ON THE RIGHT TRACK”

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN – SCOTLAND’S FUTURE MUST BE IN SCOTLAND’S HANDS

Martin at the election count with newly elected MSP for Clydebank & Milngavie Marie McNair.

In what has been an election campaign like no other, it’s perhaps fitting that we had to wait a little longer than usual for the results to come in. It was certainly worth the wait though as the SNP secured a decisive victory – winning an historic fourth term in office with the highest ever number of votes in a Scottish Parliament election. Continue reading “THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN – SCOTLAND’S FUTURE MUST BE IN SCOTLAND’S HANDS”