This week is a huge week in the House of Commons as the Ivory Bill on which I am leading for SNP is coming back for the third reading. A ban on ivory sales is long overdue and this legislation will be historic, with the aim of preserving the elephant population for future generations. 100 elephants are lost to poaching every day and we cannot allow this magnificent species to become extinct. I am delighted to have worked so hard with cross party colleagues to bring this Bill through second reading and then via committee stage to this final point. There is general cross party support- it is absolutely the right thing to do -and we must get on and achieve it!
Across the constituency, over the past few weeks I have been extremely busy attending our local gala days, Strathaven Raft Race and holding my first Carer’s surgery of the year where I reached out to those looking after sick or disabled relatives. Carers contribute so much to the social fabric of our society but often with little support. The first surgery was well attended and further surgery dates have been set.
I was extremely proud, as your MP and as Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group to attend the ceremonial prize giving at local Sanderson High School. I was able to present my 2018 Award for Leadership to the school, for the first time, to winner Sam Small. I understand that Sam has shown extraordinary ability this year in supporting peers. Sanderson High is an inspirational school with a fantastic Head Teacher and staffing, making sure that everyone, no matter their level of ability, achieve their full potential. I was extremely proud of the range of talent celebrated and stayed behind to meet and speak with students and teachers after the ceremony.
Local schools may now be out for summer but this week at my surgery, young campaigners from Whitehills came to see me to ask for my support for their campaign for a local play park. I am delighted to pledge my support to Jodie Park aged 10 of Castlefield Primary School, Lilly-Mae and Karla Kelly aged 9 and 7 years respectively and Rachel Greenan aged 10, all from Heathery Knowe Primary School who came along with their petition already signed by 74 local residents.
The petition will now go to South Lanarkshire Council whom I will be writing to. They will also be reaching out to their local councillors for support. Apparently a play park was originally in the plans when Cala Homes were built in the area but this has not yet come to fruition.
Our young campaigners said that having a play park would mean they could stay fit during good weather, meet friends, develop wellbeing and stay safe next to their home. They told me that research indicates it is in line with the Scottish Government objectives to tackle childhood obesity! Full support to our young campaigners -who obviously did their homework even during the holidays!