SNP CAMPAIGN EVENT TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

UK GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO RATIFY ISTANBUL CONVENTION “UNACCEPTABLE”
The Scottish National Party has stepped up its efforts to end violence against women by hosting a conference of campaign groups in the Houses of Parliament.
The SNP hosted a round-table discussion, focussing on a campaign to call on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention which legislates for the coordination of policies between government, local authorities and charities working to combat violence against women. The SNP has previously raised the issue with David Cameron, criticising his government for “stalling” over women’s rights.
In 2012, the UK signed-up to the Convention and agreed to implement a series of coordinated measures, however to date the UK Government has failed to ratify it. In a recent letter to the Prime Minister, co-signed by several campaign groups, Gavin Newlands MP called on David Cameron to set a date for ratification and commit to working with relevant organisations to build on the government’s work to date.
The letter had been signed by White Ribbon UK, Scottish Women’s Aid, Women’s Aid UK, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Engender, iChange, No More Page 3, Rape Crisis Scotland and Zero Tolerance.
Commenting after the roundtable discussion, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said,
“David Cameron must stop stalling on this vital piece of legislation. The UK government can and must do more to end violence against women, and the SNP have called on him to ensure there is cooperation between Government, local authorities and charities.
Despite all the positive work that has taken place in ending the violence that many women experience on a daily basis, it should shame and anger us all that 1 in 4 women in the UK will still experience some form of violence at some point in their lives.

 

My own constituency has a high prevalence of violence against women and the vital work being done by the local authority, violence against women partnership and Dumbarton & Clydebank Women’s Aid organisations needs to be backed up by the UK Government at the highest level.
Tackling and ending the violence that many women face on a daily basis is an issue that unites the Parliament, however we should not allow that level of consensus to foster complacency. The UK Government is doing a lot of work in this area but there is more that can be done to tackle the scourge of violence against women.”
Angela Crawley, SNP spokesperson for Women and Equalities said,
“The Istanbul Convention places an obligation on the government to prevent violence against women in all its forms, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. The UK Government signed the convention in June 2012, so I cannot understand why they are so hesitant to ratify it now.
Gender-based violence is a blight on our society and it claims the lives of two women every week. Ignorance simply will not suffice on this matter; the government must stop dragging its feet and ratify the convention now.”

 

SCOTTISH MPs “LEFT OUT”

SNP MP Pete Wishart has warned that Scottish MPs are being increasingly left out of the debate on government spending because they have been denied the opportunity to discuss the impacts of decisions made in Westminster on Scottish budgets.
The MP and SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons was ruled ‘out of order’ during a parliament debate on estimates (government spending) for attempting to bring up the critical ‘Barnett consequentials’ which provide a large part of the Scottish budget.
In the debate on English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), the Leader of the House said all issues of ‘Barnett consequentials’ were bound up in the estimates (government spending) process.
Pete Wishart MP said:
“The SNP was looking forward to debating the important issue of the estimates –  which has a knock-on effect in Scotland on our education and health service –  only to be ruled out of order.
English votes for English laws created two tiers of parliamentarians in the House of Commons and created the situation where Scottish MPs can’t properly consider the ‘Barnett conseqientials’ on legislation branded English only. We were invited to look at the estimates procedure to discuss these issues but today we have been told that we can’t even discuss it there.”

 

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, who highlighted the potential issues with the ‘English Votes for English Laws’ rule changes in his maiden speech added,
“Scottish MPs are now totally left out when it comes to considering the Barnet consequentials- we are left with no place to go in order to have a proper debate on this critical part of the Scottish budget. This is a consequence of the complete mess that is EVEL, and the sad inevitability of the flaws inherent in these rushed in rules.
We must have the opportunity in Westminster to debate and vote on Barnett consequentials for Scotland and this must be the last time that Westminster puts forward a debate on government spending in this way.
Changes in Westminster departmental spending hits our health service, our education and the whole spectrum of Scottish public services. This highlights the need for urgent reform of procedures in Westminster if the only place we can’t discuss estimates and government spending, is on the ‘estimates debate’ day.”

 

TORIES RENEWING TRIDENT “BY STEALTH”

ANOTHER £640 MILLION SPENT AND STILL NO COMMONS VOTE

SNP Shadow Defence Team Member Martin Docherty-Hughes MP is calling on the UK Government to come clean on spending on Trident as it is reported that yet another £640 million is to be spent on renewal – without a single vote in the House of Commons.

The UK Government is determined to proceed with the project – which already has a total price tag of £167 billion – and plans to dump the nuclear arsenal on the Clyde for the next 50 years despite opposition from the Scottish Government, 57 of Scotland’s 59 MPS, churches, trades unions and civic society.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP commented:

“These reports are shocking, but sadly all too believable. The UK Government has history on this, with over £4billion already spent on the next generation of Trident before a single vote has been cast at Westminster. A billion here, a billion there and another £640 million this week, it looks like the Tories are trying to renew this nuclear arsenal by stealth without going through the democratic scrutiny of the House of Commons.

Michael Fallon needs to come clean and tell MPs and the people of Scotland exactly how much public money has already been spent and how much more he intends to spend before MPs get a chance to vote on renewal.

The UK Government are pushing ahead, wasting hundreds of millions more of taxpayers money on preparing for these obscene and redundant weapons of mass murder. This comes the same week that the Chancellor is warning about more cuts on the way because his numbers don’t add up, and the endless Tory assault on welfare and pensions continues.

The SNP will vote against nuclear weapons at every opportunity, and in the interests of democracy, that opportunity must come soon.”

West Dunbartonshire Citizen Advice Bureau and Local MP Supporting Local People

West Dunbartonshire’s Citizen Advice Bureau will be piloting joint advice and support surgeries with Martin Docherty-Hughes MP from next month.

 

Since being elected in May last year, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has been holding surgeries throughout West Dunbartonshire and now has regular monthly public drop-in sessions set up in Alexandria, Dumbarton, Clydebank, Dalmuir and Faifley Libraries.

 

From Friday 4th March 2016, West Dunbartonshire CAB will attend Martin’s surgeries in Alexandria, Dumbarton, Dalmuir and Faifley libraries to help provide advice and support to local people.

 

Speaking about the pilot scheme, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said,

 

“I was delighted when the CAB expressed an interest in joint surgeries. West Dunbartonshire CAB provide excellent advice and support to local people day in day out and I believe their support at these surgeries will be invaluable.

 

I see a lot of people coming through looking for help with a huge range of issues and CAB are the experts in giving free, confidential advice. Working jointly, we should be able to better advice and help people to get the information and support they need more quickly.”

 

West Dunbartonshire CAB General Manager, Joe McCormack said,

 

“We’re pleased to be working alongside the MP in this new initiative. The CAB is based in the town centre and we realise that might not suit everyone. We recognise the need for partnership working if we’re to help as many people as possible through providing an effective and accessible CAB service.

 

People coming along to the MP’s surgery will now have the chance to speak to someone from the CAB in the usual confidential way. There will be a separate room where we can offer advice and assistance with benefits queries, debt problems, housing matters, consumer disputes and all the other issues that people regularly bring to the Bureau.”

 

Full details of the joint surgeries will be published by West Dunbartonshire CAB and Martin Docherty-Hughes MP on their websites at www.wdcab.co.uk and www.matrindocherty.scot

 

Notes for Editors:

  • Citizens Advice Scotland, our 61 member bureau and our consumer helpline together form Scotland’s largest independent advice network. We help more than 300,000 people solve their problems each year in communities everywhere from city centres to the Highlands and Islands. And we look at the problems people bring to our advice services and campaign for change where it’s needed most. We work for a fairer Scotland where people are empowered and their rights respected.
  • Alexandria Library Surgery to be held on the first Friday of every month from 10am to 11am
  • Dumbarton Library Surgery to be held on the first Friday of every month from 11:30am to 12:30pm
  • Dalmuir Library Surgery to be held on the third Friday of every month from 1pm to 2pm.
  • Faifley Library Surgery to be held on the third Friday of every month from 2:15pm to 3:15pm

REPORT RAISES CONCERNS OF “COMPLEXITY AND WORKABILITY” OF EVEL

SNP: UK GOVERNMENT MUST USE EVEL REVIEW PERIOD TO “ESTABLISH COMPREHENSIVE PROPOSALS”   The Scottish National Party has today called on the UK government to urgently review the House of Commons Standing Orders on English Votes for English Laws.   The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee report “The Future of the Union: English Votes for English Laws” has raised concerns about the “complexity and workability” of EVEL; mirroring comments made by Martin Docherty-Hughes MP in his Maiden Speech last July.   Speaking again on the issue, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said,   “The SNP has no objection to the principle of English Votes for English Laws but the way the UK Government has implemented it is unworkable. Due to the Barnet Formula, Scotland can now suffer funding cuts with Scottish MPs having no say on the matter; that is fundamentally wrong.   “The Tories rushed this through as a change to the Standing Orders rather than as a proper piece of legislation, which would have received more scrutiny, so it is little wonder that the new rules are full of flaws and inconsistencies.   “What is clear about this report is that David Cameron doesn’t even have support for EVEL from within his own party. What we have is an unsustainable solution and the wrong answer to the constitutional question.
“I am pleased that the report echoes my concerns, vindicating my position. It is critical that the UK Government take on board the recommendations from this report and use the twelve month review period we are currently in to establish a set of comprehensive proposals that all parties and the general public can support.”

 

4 OF 5 PARTIES ON SMITH COMMISSION BACK SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ON FISCAL FRAMEWORK

CROSS-PARTY UNITY AGAINST TORY PLANS TO SLASH BUDGET BY BACKDOOR

The SNP has welcomed backing for the Scottish Government’s position in the fiscal framework negotiations from representatives of four of the five parties on the Smith Commission – with only the Scottish Tories refusing to say whether they back either the Scottish Government plans to secure a fair deal for Scotland or the UK Government’s proposal to cut Scotland’s budget by the backdoor.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland last week, Iain Gray, Tavish Scott and Maggie Chapman confirmed their backing for the per-capita indexation mechanism favoured by the Scottish Government.

This comes as the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee – composed of four SNP members, 4 Conservatives and 3 Labour members unanimously backed the Scottish Government’s position.

Commenting, SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said,

“There is a growing and wide cross-party consensus in Scotland in favour of the Scottish Government’s position in the fiscal framework negotiations and even Tory MPs in Westminster have now joined calls for the UK Government to implement this fair fiscal framework. Everyone is united against Tory plans to use the delivery of the new powers we were promised to cut our budget by the backdoor.

“This can’t be an argument about how much financial detriment or what size of cut to Scotland’s budget is acceptable, the Smith Agreement said no detriment and that’s exactly what the UK Government must agree to. West Dunbartonshire voted Yes to Independence and if our communities are going to have the Unionists’ policies forced upon us, they must at least deliver on their promises.

“From the STUC to Professor Anton Muscatelli, the experts are clear that the Scottish Government’s position is the right one for Scotland, and I’m very pleased to see backing from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and backbench UK Tories for a fair deal for Scotland; only the Scottish Tories are refusing to make it clear where they stand.

“The SNP in Government will never agree to a deal which would allow the UK Government to cut Scotland’s budget by the backdoor, and it’s very welcome to see cross-party support for that common-sense position.

UK GOVERNMENT MUST RATIFY EU CONVENTION TO TACKLE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

The SNP are calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention – the “gold standard” legal framework for tackling violence against women.   The SNP, who have secured a Westminster debate on the issue, will argue that the UK government must ratify the European convention to ensure comprehensive policies are coordinated between government, local authorities and charities working to combat violence against women.     The debate takes place during a week of outcry across the UK following comments made by pro-rape blogger, Roosh V.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Martin Docherty MP said:   “The UK government can and must do more to end violence against women, and we are calling on them today to ensure there is cooperation between Government, local authorities and charities.    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Women’s Aid have all called for the UK to ratify the pan-European convention on women’s and girls’ rights three years after signing up to it and 12 months since it came into force- yet we are still waiting.    As a society we have made a lot of progress on this issue but still too many women are living in violent relationships and the comments made by pro-rapist Roosh V highlights the long journey that we’ve still got to travel to end the violence that women face on a daily basis.   As well as being tough on those male perpetrators, we also have to adopt a preventative approach to stop these violent acts from occurring in the first place. The best way in which we can defeat violence against women is by working together and having a coordinated approach that intervenes early to prevent these violent acts from ever occurring. This includes working with organisations like The White Ribbon Campaign who stress that men have a key role to play in preventing violence against women.

 

The SNP in West Dunbartonshire fought hard to ensure that tackling violence against women was a key priority of the North Strathclyde Criminal Justice Authority, but we need support at a national level working with the Council, Police, Women’s Aid and Violence Against Women Partnership if we are to make the difference that we must.   I urge the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention and ensure that we continue to introduce a series of preventative measures that will tackle and eradicate domestic violence from our society, and in doing so send a clear message that any form of violence against women will not be tolerated.”

David Barlett, Director of White Ribbon UK, added:   “The appalling violence and coercion that women in this country experience from a minority of men is a national scandal, and still too often overlooked.  The current public outcry against the views of men like the pro-rape activist Roosh V is vital – but we need to take a stand on this issue every day if women are to create a culture in which all violence and coercion towards women is unacceptable.  We need far more influential men in political life, business, education, sport and other areas to take a lead and promise never to remain silent about or excuse any male violence against women. Organisations like the White Ribbon Campaign are already playing an essential role in making sure that this message is heard loud and clear by men. But we now need the Government to provide much-needed support, so the Campaign can go from strength to strength.”

 

SNP: UK GOVERNMENT MUST REVISIT PENSION INEQUALITIES FOR WOMEN BORN IN 1950s

The SNP has called on the UK government to immediately revisit the state pension inequalities for women born in the 1950s as a petition from the Women Against State Pensions Inequality (WASPI) was debated in the House of Commons.

 

Paisley’s Mhairi Black MP led a backbench business debate on the issue at the beginning of January and the SNP’s motion, that called on the UK government to introduce transitional measures, received cross-party support.

 

The WASPI Campaign’s petition, which calls fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s, has attracted more than 140,000 signatures.

 

Mhairi Black MP, who sits on the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said:

“The dedication and commitment of those involved in the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign is second to none and I am pleased that we have another opportunity to shed some light on the gross unfairness that successive governments have allowed to fall on these women.

Despite cross-party support in the House of Commons for fair transitional arrangements for the women who has been so badly let down by pension reforms, the UK government has so far refused to act.

Pensions are not a benefit, they are a contract – the UK government has broken that contract and it is vital that action is taken now to revisit the inequalities felt by women born in the 1950s immediately.”

 

 

West Dunbartonshire’s Martin Docherty MP supported his colleague’s debate in January and last week joined cross party calls for fair transition arrangement to be put in place.

 

Speaking in the debate he pointed out further inequality with same sex female couples being doubly disadvantaged. He said,

 

We have talked about the amount of money that women will lose in terms of detriment. I hope that the Minister takes this on board. We heard earlier about women relying on their husbands to make up their income, but in the case of women who are married to women, both suffer detriment because of the changes in pension age.”

 

Afterwards he added,

 

“Women born in the 1950s are having their futures jeopardised by the UK Government and this is a battle the SNP are going to keep fighting. This will be particularly detrimental for single women or same sex female couples. We cannot allow a whole generation of women to live in poverty when they retire. It is a moral imperative that the UK Government rethink these plans and put proper transitional arrangements in place.”
ENDS

Notes for Editor

 

 

Martin Docherty MP’s interjection to the debate is noted here:

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2016-02-01a.249.0&p=25275#g275.0

 

The petition can be viewed here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776