These past few weeks I have been deeply saddened by the tragic attacks in Orlando, followed by the heinous murder of our MP colleague Jo Cox. My heart goes out to those affected by the Orlando attacks and to Jo’s young family. I can only hope and pray that they are able to cope with the traumatic circumstances that have befallen them. Reported extremist views of the alleged perpetrators appear to plague society at this time, breeding intolerance towards others. We must ensure that we do not allow a radicalised minority to poison our debate, our participation in democracy and as MPs: our accessibility to our communities.
The week before last, I participated in a special tribute debate to women in parliament, marking 150 years since the origins of the suffragette movement. It was inspirational to see cross-party female MPs standing together. We have come a long way since women had to fight for the vote but we still have far to travel. Less than 30% of MPs in the UK are female and so while the glass ceiling may be cracked it is far from broken. Equality is a journey worth pursuing until achieved.
In the constituency during the past fortnight, it was wonderful to attend Strathaven Gala Day, meeting with our new Gala Queen, Carly Redmond and to see the results of the fantastic work of the community and organisers. Well done to all concerned: it was a fantastic day. I was privileged to be invited to Abbey Lodge and Forefaulds Nursing Homes who were marking Care Home Open Day with lots of planned activities for their residents. What a great job carers do. Last Saturday, I attended a poignant Armed Forces Day event to pay my respects to our service personnel, our veterans and those who have lost their lives while serving our country.
At Westminster, I am grateful to have been able to secure a debate on the horrific issue of dog fighting. Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated and we must ensure that those involved are brought to justice and punished effectively. Should any constituents wish to contact me on this issue (or any other), then I would be pleased to hear from you at my constituency office in the Civic Centre or via email ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
A few final words on this week’s EU Referendum. It is most important that people exercise their right to vote. This decision is lasting and will have consequences for years to come. I will be voting ‘Remain’ as I believe that Scotland’s interests are best protected within the EU. We have benefitted from the leverage of EU trade, the security of the EU arrest warrant, EU maternity and working time regulations, research, project and infrastructure grants and protections for people with disability. Scotland should not be left at the mercy of an unfettered right wing Conservative Government. Please seek the information you need, engage in positive political discourse, take on past lessons from the suffrage movement and make an informed decision. – However above all remember to Vote!