As I write this it’s the beginning of what’s set to be an eventful week at Westminster. Over the past few days I’ve been contacted by an unprecedented number of constituents who are outraged by Boris Johnson’s undemocratic and disgraceful move to shut down parliament.
More than 1.7m people have signed a petition to stop the proroguing of parliament, but this Tory UK government refuses to take the blinkers off as it presses on with its pursuit of a damaging no-deal Brexit on 31st October.
Scotland and West Dunbartonshire didn’t vote for this, yet we face being dragged out of the EU against our will by an unelected Tory Prime Minister.
Even the UK government’s own analysis shows that this would result in an economic and social crisis not seen since the Thatcher years. And having lived through that, and seen how my own family and our communities suffered, I will not stand by as Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale is forced to endure a re-run of the hardship of the 1980s at the behest of a new British Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson has no mandate for a no-deal Brexit, but he and his wealthy cabinet of Tory Brexiteers seem to care little for the detrimental impact it will have on the everyday lives of the people in our communities they’re supposed to be elected to work on behalf of.
When first elected I pledged to be the most accessible MP that West Dunbartonshire has ever had. I hold eight open-door advice surgeries every month, giving local residents the opportunity to speak 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 rewarding part of the job, but also very frustrating to see so many examples of people who find themselves in difficulty through no fault of their own.
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 reflect on that in the coming days.
This article appeared in the Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter on 3 September 2019.