CLYDEBANK POST COLUMN – 14 AUGUST 2019

It’s summer recess in the House of Commons which offers MPs a very welcome opportunity to spend some much-needed time with friends and family. But for me that doesn’t mean the work stops – quite the opposite in fact, as it allows me to dedicate even more time to meeting with constituent groups in Clydebank and working on behalf of local residents across West Dunbartonshire.

It’s a welcome break from the turmoil at Westminster. After just a few weeks of Boris Johnson’s Premiership, we’re already seeing the consequences of this UK government’s damaging pursuit of a no-deal Brexit as the value of the pound plummets towards rock bottom. For Scots holidaymakers that means being hit in the pocket, making much-needed family trips away much more expensive and even unaffordable for many who are struggling.

Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the iceberg though if this unelected Tory PM gets his way and drags Scotland out of the EU against our will on 31st October. The UK Treasury’s own analysis shows a no-deal Brexit would be devastating for jobs and living standards – and as ever it would be the poorest in our communities who pay the price.

But Boris Johnson and his wealthy cabinet of Tory Brexiteers seem to care little for the impact of their ideological pursuit of a cliff-edge Brexit on the everyday lives of the people they are supposed to be elected to be represent.

When I was first elected in 2015 I wanted to be the most accessible MP that West Dunbartonshire has ever had. I hold eight open-door advice surgeries every month across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale, giving local residents the opportunity to come along and raise any issues they have with me in person. With the assistance of my hardworking constituency team, I have helped thousands of constituents on a range of issues from social security, to passports, pensions and tax credits.

I believe it’s an incredibly important part of being an MP because it keeps me in touch with how the lives of the people I represent are being affected by the decisions made in parliament. It can be a hugely rewarding part of the job, but also very frustrating to see so many cases of people who are in difficulty through no fault of their own. Whilst as an MP I can’t guarantee to be able to solve every problem, my door is always open to constituents needing help and support.

With the ongoing uncertainty at Westminster it’s more important than ever that MPs listen to and act in the best interests of the people we have the privilege of representing. The new Prime Minister would do well to do reflect on that when parliament returns in a few weeks’ time.

This article appeared in the Clydebank Post on 14 August 2019.

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