Welfare Reform – Response to Jackie Baillie MSP’s Press Release

Martin Docherty MP said,

 

“Ms Baillie’s position is farcical. Labour deliberately ensured that they did not have enough members in the chamber to win the vote on their own amendment and in any case, the SNP in good conscience could not vote in favour of a Labour amendment that pledged support for a number of this Government’s ill thought out welfare reforms.

 

The fact is that if all Labour MPs had turned up and joined us in voting against the second reading of this Bill, the Government’s welfare reform plans would have been stopped in their tracks as enough Tory MPs were absent to give the opposition a rare majority. For Labour to move an amendment supporting Tory policies and then to abstain when we try to block this legislation is a betrayal of the communities they are suppose represent.

 

The SNP are the only real opposition to the Government in Westminster and it’s clear that Labour will continue to help the Tories implement their austerity agenda.

 

The SNP will continue to speak up and oppose these damaging reforms on behalf of the communities of Scotland.”

 

SNP HIGHLIGHTS NORTHERN DEFENCE FOCUS FOR UK DEFENCE REVIEW

ANGUS ROBERTSON MP CALLS FOR MARITIME AIRCRAFT AND PATROL VESSELS TO BE BASED IN SCOTLAND

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has called for the UK to take northern defence priorities more seriously. Speaking at an event hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) ahead of publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) later this year, the Westminster SNP Leader Angus Robertson MP said “the UK has not taken northern regional security seriously enough and this must change with the new SDSR”.

In his speech in London he called for the procurement of Maritime Patrol Aircraft and for their basing in Scotland, the permanent stationing of ocean going conventional patrol vessels on the Clyde and a step change in UK engagement with regional allies in northern regional defence tasking. Mr Robertson highlighted the protracted absence of UK Armed Forces from northern maritime and air-patrol co-operation as unacceptable.

Westminster SNP Leader Angus Robertson MP said

As we approach publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review it should be acknowledged that the UK has not taken northern regional security seriously enough and this must change with the new SDSR”.

While all our northern regional neighbours make defence, security and stability in our region a key priority, the UK has not. The UK did not even mention the High North and Arctic in the last SDSR. This must change.

The UK has the only armed forces in northern Europe without Maritime Patrol Aircraft, has not taken part in NATO northern maritime patrol groups for years and has never taken part in NATO northern air policing which is based in Iceland.

The Royal Navy bases all of its ocean going patrol vessels on the south coast of England and has repeatedly had gaps in their cover for UK waters.”

 

West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty added,

 

“The Unionist parties continue to press forwards with their plans to waste billions of pounds of tax payer’s money on first strike nuclear weapons while Scotland’s defences remain the lowest priority for the Westminster Government.
In recent years we have seen increasing foreign military operations close to UK territorial waters and airspace, and UK armed forces have been known to rely on intelligence from Scottish fishing vessels and social media as they have not had the appropriate assets in place in time.

The forthcoming SDSR should signal that the UK will now take northern regional defence and security seriously. The Ministry of Defence must procure Maritime Patrol Aircraft and base them in Scotland which is closest to where they are needed most. The MOD should permanently station ocean going conventional patrol vessels on the Clyde to be close to northern waters.

Scotland is a northern maritime nation and it is shocking that UK government needs to be shamed into taking its northern defence responsibilities seriously.”

TORY BUDGET WILL HIT WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE’S HARD WORKING FAMILIES, POOREST AND YOUNG PEOPLE HARDEST

Commenting on George Osborne’s Budget, West Dunbartonshire SNP MP Martin Docherty said:
 
“George Osborne’s budget will hit hard working families, the poorest and young people the hardest. He has continued with his unionist austerity agenda which we now know includes savage cuts in tax credits. Any increase in the minimum wage is of course welcome, but the reality is that the good will be more than undone by the wider austerity cuts.

The living wage in Scotland is currently £7.85. George Osborne has a brass neck trying to frame his minimum wage increase as living wage implementation. With the living wage in Scotland currently at £7.85 the Tories’ offering of £7.20 per hour is an insult to the communities of West Dunbartonshire.
 
This Budget was a sermon from the high priest of the unionist austerity cult; ‘Robbing’ Hood, taking from the poor and hardworking people and giving to the richest in society. The Tories’ cuts in the living standards of young people are particularly severe, including scrapping student grants. The SNP Government will continue to deliver grants for the poorest students in Scotland, demonstrating the benefits of having these powers in the Scottish Parliament, rather than in Tory hands at Westminster.
 
There were measures which we welcome such as the freeze in fuel duty, but there was nothing in the Budget to encourage innovation or exports.
  
The UK Government are imposing this austerity Budget on Scotland on the basis of having a single Tory MP north of the border. The electorate in West Dunbartonshire and Scotland as a whole overwhelmingly rejected austerity at the election by returning 56 SNP MPs, and the Tories secured their lowest share of the vote in Scotland since 1865.
 
This Budget underlines the need to have economic and welfare powers in Scotland, so that we can build a more dynamic economy to boost tax revenues, and create a fairer society where policies benefit the many, not deliver tax cuts for millionaires.”

Maiden Speech – West Dunbartonshire & English Votes for English Laws

West Dunbartonshire’s SNP MP Martin Docherty has made his first debate speech in the House of Commons, during the important emergency session on the Government’s EVEL proposals.

Martin, took time to highlight the rich and inspirational history of the of our industrious constituency, speaking about people and communities from Gartocharn to Clydebank used his speech to focus Members of the House of Commons’ minds on the democratic deficit that exists within the current Government.

In particular, the Government’s EVEL proposals would not only see two or three different classes of MPs created, but because the Government is pushing this reform through as a procedural adjustment, they are refusing to engage in any public consultation and bypassing the normal debate and scrutiny that should be undertaken by the House of Commons and forcing the independent speaker to act in a highly political manner.

The Government’s plans fell into complete disarray following the heated debate when MPs voted 291 to 2 against a motion from the Government that the plans had been properly debated; the Tory Government were so shell shocked by the debate that with the exception of 2 members, every Government MP abstained from the vote.

Speaking after the debate, Martin said,

“If the Government is allowed to push these proposals through, the Speaker will be forced to rule on every Bill and Clause before the house and decide whether English MPs have a veto. How will the speaker decide what is an English only matter? Responses from the Leader of the House have left me concerned that budget reductions for Scotland would be seen as minor issues by the Government and hence not part of the Speaker’s consideration.

This will place the speaker in an impossible position, forced to take a highly political position and choose which MPs are to have a final say on decisions, ultimately excluding myself and fellow Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues from the final decision making process.

I think it’s important to recognise the public appetite for English devolution, but creating an elite class of MPs to form a veto group is not what voters want. The Government needs to properly consult the people and take time to draw up plans for real devolution.

My hope is that the SNP, backed up cross party by opposition colleagues, have done enough to make the Government think again.”

Link to speech (Video – from 15:34:41)

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/263c5ce6-68e6-4419-8e29-2394f5f87cba

Link to speech (Hansard Written)

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150707/debtext/150707-0002.htm