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Strathaven Echoes 04/08/18

07/08/2018

At Westminster, just before recess, I was pleased to be able to question the Prime Minister on two occasions, on NATO and then the arrangements for our important services industry post Brexit.  I then questioned the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, on the campaign that I launched in December for Lucy’s Law, to end third party puppy sales in pet shops and via puppy farms which causes such puppy cruelty.   I am delighted that the Secretary of State has since got back to me to confirm that he is publishing his response to this much needed legislation later this summer.  

A significant issue that rocked Westminster in recent weeks has been allegations of Antisemitism within the Labour Party voiced by its own MPs.  This is an issue that must be dealt with via strong political leadership across all parties.  Antisemitism and any kind of religious or racial intolerance must never be condoned -because that normalises it within politics and then across our society.   

I recall my father telling me years ago about Jewish members of our extended family who lived in Germany, having to escape from Dresden, and the absolute terror felt during these times.  Millions were targeted, ostracised politically, harassed and victimised with the final aim of extermination because of baseless discrimination.    Others knew what was happening but did not speak out, complicit by their lack of action.   

Our UK Armed Forces and allies went on to fight to liberate Europe and the world from Nazism where many local constituents’ family members gave their lives to save our democracy.  When we are remembering their sacrifice, we must also recognise their expectation that we learn clear lessons from the past, manifesting in zero tolerance to antisemitism and discriminatory hatred of all kinds. 

After a short break in the canaries with my children, I came home this weekend, and was privileged to be invited to the Peace Tree in East Kilbride to say a few words in remembrance for those who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  We all aim for a world without nuclear weapons and the destruction of human life and must work together to achieve this.  The peace tree is a gentle reminder of all that is good and sacrosanct about humanity and that we should never take for granted.

Over the recess, I am delighted to be out and about across the constituency, meeting with local organisations, constituents,

MediaNews Articles

Dr Lisa Cameron MP, EK News 1/08/18.

07/08/2018

Prime Minister survives.. but for how long.

Parliament is now in recess after a chaotic final two weeks that saw Theresa May- who can now attest to be the Gloria  Gaynor of politics at least until September and continues in her leadership, after a number of near misses and then a Commons defeat. The defeat was in relation to the vote that the UK should remain an active participant in the European Union medicines agency following Brexit to potentially avert a cliff edge places  crisis in our NHS and pharmaceutical industry, affecting patients.

Across all of those who voted for Brexit ,I doubt that many did so intentionally thinking that it may impact negatively at any time upon future healthcare for themselves and their love ones- so that’s Commons defeat for the UK government was particularly welcome.  At this stage, the type of Brexit we will have remains a mystery whilst its potential adverse impact  upon our economy, jobs and livelihoods draws ever closer.  We are now apparently  to stockpile food and essentials in crisis preparation. The Chequers plan that took  2 years for the Tory government to announce has already been sent back for revision, both by the EU and by its own party, triggering  key resignations at cabinet level.

Labours policy on Brexit feels like shifting sands with few people able to discern their alternative vision. The only thing that has saved the Tory government from defeat on the Brexit plan was  in fact Labour party mp’s voting with the Tories and the two Liberal Democrats , including the current and previous party leaders failing to vote.

Before the recess, I was pleased to be able to question the Prime Minister myself on Nato and Brexit and then the leader of the house, Andrea Leadsom, on the campaign I launched in December for Lucy’s law: to end third party puppy sales in pet shops and via puppy farms. I am pleased that the Secretary of State is now publishing his response on this legislation during Summer.

Meanwhile, the other significant issue that has rocked Westminster in recent weeks are allegations of anti-Semitism with the Labour Party voiced by its own MPs. This is an issue that must be dealt with via strong political leadership across all parties,  anti-Semitism and any kind of religious or racial tolerance must never be condoned because that normalises it within politics and then society. I recall my father telling the years ago about Jewish members of our extended family who lived in Germany, having to escape from Dresden, and the absolute terror felt during those times.

Millions were  targeted, ostracised politically, harassed and victimised with the final aim of extermination because of baseless discrimination. Others knew what was happening but did not speak out,  Complicit by their lack of action. Our UK Armed Forces went on to fight and liberate Europe and the world from `nazism with many local constituent’s family members giving their lives to save our  democracy. When we are remembering their sacrifice, we must also recognise their expectation that we learn lessons from the past, manifesting in zero tolerance to anti-Semitism and discriminatory hatred of all kinds..

 

 

Media

East Kilbride News 2/7/18

05/07/2018

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!

Media

East Kilbride News 18/6/18

05/07/2018

It is fair to say that whilst everyone has their own views on the Brexit vote, it is vital that the voice of the Scottish Parliament be heard amongst deliberations.  It was therefore felt to be utterly disrespectful last week that in the House of Commons, speaking time in the Brexit debate on issues of devolution was limited to just 17 minutes.  These minutes were then taken up entirely by one speech; that of the UK Government Minister, and opposition MPs were effectively silenced via parliamentary procedures.  The vote then took place on this matter with no adequate debate being held.

The next day, we found ourselves to be in as a surreal situation, in that when SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford utilised parliamentary procedures to request a SO24 during PMQ’s to secure a debate, he was refused although the procedure was itself ruled in order, and he was then ejected from the Commons.

Leaving the House of Commons that morning, alongside colleagues in solidarity, to stand firm for our voice to be heard, is what it took last week at Westminster to firstly trigger a statement from the Scottish Secretary on devolution the next day and then the granting of a debate today.

I am therefore heading down to Westminster, to ensure that I can speak in this vital debate.  This will not alter the outcome of the vote but it gives us some shred of a democratic voice.  People should be in no doubt, I will always ensure that the views of the Scottish Parliament and of local constituents are heard and represented in such important matters.

Across our constituency, lighter moments ensued this week and I was absolutely delighted to open the 2018 Glassford Gala Day.  It was fantastic to see the array of best dressed houses, to judge the bake off (always a great job!) and to meet with the each of the children and to congratulate them on their fancy dress during the competition.  The organisers were brilliant and everyone had a fabulous time despite rain clouds trying to interfere with best laid gala day plans.  Once again, I’d like to thank the organisers for making this a memorable and successful event with full community participation across Glassford.

On Sunday, I was delighted to attend East Kilbride Legion Scotland to support further fundraising for Erskine Hospital, Soldiers off the Street, EK Dementia Carers, Enable and other worthwhile local and national causes.  The hall was full to the brim and there was great entertainment for everyone all afternoon.  Our Legion has gone from strength to strength due to the commitment of local people, and considerable funds were pledged on the day for charity including £150 for a signed Scotland strip donated by football legend Gordon Smith and arranged by South Lanarkshire Council Veteran’s Spokesperson.

My Annual Veterans Day, will be held at the Legion in East Kilbride on the 28th June 2018 at 11am.  Please advise my office (lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk /01355587430) if you have not already received your invitation, as all local veterans and their families are welcome.   I am looking forward to a great day again this year, where we pay special tribute to all who have served.

Media

East Kilbride News 1/6/18

05/07/2018

It is approaching one year since I was re-elected for a second term as your Member of Parliament to Westminster and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and to inform that I have continued to work extremely hard and diligently on your behalf.  During the past year, I have spoken in 80 debates and submitted 123 written questions to hold the UK Government to account (They Work for You Statistics).

Since May 2015, my local offices in East Kilbride and Strathaven have dealt with over 8500 cases including welfare benefits, local issues, home office issues, health and disability.  I have supported in excess of 150 local organisations and businesses.  Both offices are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and domiciliary visits are arranged for those with mobility issues.  Please do not hesitate to drop by or to get in touch at lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk

During recess, I signed the petition to save Marks & Spencer’s in East Kilbride and spent time with Carolyn Denham gathering signatures from local shoppers.  It’s fair to say that support has been massive and approximately 5000 signatures of local residents in the short space of one week is testament to that.  I am meeting with M&S Management this week when I will have the opportunity to discuss our petition and to also highlight its’ local support to Ministers in Parliament.

It is crucial that a town the size of East Kilbride is re-energised and remains vibrant.  It is such a great place to live, work and grow up.  Much has been done recently by Town Centre Management to attract new business and we have seen the successful opening of The Hub, Smyggle, Horton’s and The Entertainer. Car parking charges remain an issue however, that is relevant and we require to consider this as we are competing with other retail sites.

My campaign “East Kilbride, Here for Business” continues.  I asked for a debate at Westminster on “Re-Generation plans for New Towns” with funding consideration akin to City Deals.  Since the demise of Development Corporations, focus requires to be redirected to New Towns like East Kilbride to ensure they meet their full potential and I continue to progress this issue.

During recess, it was also a privilege to spend two days with the Royal Air Force in their Centenary Year.  I learned about their contribution to NATO defence strategy particularly in the Baltic Regions, and how operations with partners are crucial to maintaining stability.  It is important that Members of Parliament learn about defence as we are asked to make such crucial decisions about commission of troops, which should always be the most informed decisions.

Finally, I would like to highlight my Annual Veterans Day held at our Legion on 28th June 2018 from 11am.  Invitations have gone out to local veterans across South Lanarkshire but if you know of anyone who has not yet received an invitation and would like to attend please do not hesitate to get in touch.   We must prioritise our support for those who have served, as our society owes them so much.

 

Media

East Kilbride News 18/4/18

05/07/2018

After the Easter recess the House of Commons found itself debating the PM’s important statement and there was a debate on the military intervention in Syria. The Prime Minister, committed RAF Typhoons and Tornados to action, supporting the United States of America and France. The action was limited and our servicemen and women, who always serve bravely, returned safely.  Such decisions are the gravest of any democracy to make and should, in my opinion, be come to via agreement with Parliament.  I find it difficult, at this stage, to understand the urgency with which this decision was made involving no recall of parliament and prior to appointed weapons inspectors being able to undertake and report on their work.  I raised a question to the Prime Minister Mrs May, she or any future Prime Minister must answerable and accountable to Parliament.  I take this responsibility on your behalf, very seriously, with the welfare of our forces, my constituents and country paramount.

In respect of the ongoing conflict in Syria, we were all absolutely horrified by the reported scenes from Douma and Damascus involving alleged chemical weapons attacks by Assad’s forces on his own people, including young children.  Such heinous actions can never be tolerated in any society as this reinforces the aggressor.  It is therefore important that political solutions and international law are fully applied in this case to bring any suspected war criminals to justice.

Although foreign affairs issues may seem to be taking centre stage at the current time, I have also continued to work very hard across our constituency attending to local issues. Our constituency office in East Kilbride continues to be very busy especially, with cases involving Universal Credit and PIP, which we are trying to progress via the Department for Work and Pensions.  I would urge constituents who are affected to contact my office directly on lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk and we will seek to support you where we can within this process.

I have also been contacting South Lanarkshire Council regarding local pavements, roads and potholes.  Essential works must be completed due to disrepair, and I am pleased that this has now been agreed.  There will however, be a level of disruption around the constituency and I will certainly keep constituents up to date on this as much as is possible.

Councillor John Anderson, as Convener of Community and Enterprise Resources deserves real praise for promoting the issues, revolving around parking at Hairmyres train station.  In terms, of prioritising a solution involving all the relevant agencies involved in making this project of this scale, to become a reality.

Finally, over the past few weeks, I have been exceptionally proud as always, to watch our Commonwealth Athletes competing for Team Scotland including seven  athletes from East Kilbride and District. Team Scotland won 9 gold medals, 13 silver medals and 22 bronze medals.  Sport is a great confidence builder and it is important that we invest in our young people holistically, promoting physical and mental health.  They are our future and deserve the best support possible.

Media

East Kilbride News 12/2/18

05/07/2018

I have continued to make representations to the UK Government regarding Universal Credit and PIP Assessments.  The policies appear flawed and are driving constituents into poverty via delayed processing and faulty decision making, often overturned at appeal.  I raised these issues with the Secretary of State for DWP in the House of Commons and she agreed that I submit cases that require additional scrutiny directly to her.  Any constituents who are struggling and who have not yet contacted me please now do so on lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk or 01355 587430

 

In my work with the Health Select Committee we are undertaking an Inquiry into Children and Young People’s Mental Health.  There appears to be a particularly difficult transition period between Children’s and Adult Services around the age of 18 with evidence that many young people are dropping out of services but require ongoing support.  I have raised this issue with the Mental Health Ministers at Westminster and Holyrood.   I note that the Royal College of Paediatrics Child Health Report recently praised The Scottish Government’s progress on policies for young people including childhood obesity, child poverty and child and adolescent mental health services.   Progress is being made in Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to build upon this.

 

Following from my high profile campaign for Lucy’s Law as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dog Welfare, I am pleased that the Secretary of State has now announced a consultation on banning third party puppy sales.  Puppies should not be sold in pet shops or via third parties online as this facilitates puppy farming, appalling animal welfare standards and illegal importing.  Money made from puppies bred in absolutely squalid conditions and imported from Europe, reportedly falls behind that of only arms and drug dealing.  Please support my campaign for Lucys Law to give puppies the best possible start in life.

 

As many of you are aware I have been working hard to save our RBS branches in Strathaven and Lesmahagow from closure.  Both branches are much needed and utilised by constituents five days per week.  I spoke in the Community Banking Debate in Parliament last Thursday to once again highlight our concerns and to challenge the UK Government to act. We own the majority of RBS and it must provide community banking. My petition to save our RBS branches has also been presented in Parliament, is the first petition to be presented, and as such, the Minister must respond.

 

I was delighted to visit Jackton Police Training College locally to find out about policing issues and to speak directly with officers on the frontline.  All officers within Police Scotland have now undertaken mental health awareness training including autism awareness so that they can respond appropriately to calls where these issues are relevant.  In a recent parliamentary debate we learned that only a third of police officers in England have had this training.  We must ensure best practice and I was pleased to highlight in parliament the excellent leading work being rolled out from our constituency.

Media

East Kilbride News 29/1/18

05/07/2018

I am pleased to inform that over the past few weeks, my East Kilbride and Strathaven offices have remained open despite the inclement weather and we have been dealing with your important enquiries, often regarding treacherous roads and paths needing gritted due to the conditions.  We have been in contact with South Lanarkshire Council Roads Department repeatedly in order to highlight local streets that are in need of treatment and I hope that this has meant you have been able to get back out and about your daily business in a safer way.

In Parliament, this week, I was able to question the new Secretary of State for DWP Esther McVey regarding ongoing appalling treatment of my constituents who have mental health issues via the PIP and Universal Credit systems.  A court ruling has now determined that the UK Government’s policy was discriminatory against those with mental health issues within the PIP system, and their applications will be reviewed.  The Secretary of State stated in the House of Commons in response that I should raise any particular cases from our constituency which she will now look at.  I am therefore compiling this information but should any local reader who has been affected and who has not yet contacted myself be in this situation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at this time.

Following from the presentation of my petition in Parliament against the proposed closure of local RBS branches in Strathaven & Lesmahagow, the Minister must now respond.  Last week however, it was raised in the House of Commons that the banking arrangements being put in place by RBS for closure, may breach equality legislation as mobile van arrangements are not amenable for those with disabilities.  I am therefore also pursuing this issue in my capacity as Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group and writing to RBS to request that they take this into account.  I will continue to fight these proposed closures in our constituency-  RBS is majority owned by the tax payer and it is high time that they took account of rural consumer’s needs.  Their consultation continues until March so please also write to them and let your views be known.

This week marked Holocaust Memorial Day and as Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, I felt it important to mark this occasion.  I have therefore been in touch with a number of survivors who have given their recall of the atrocities they experienced- We must always learn from the past and I continue to fully support the Holocaust Education Trust’s work locally and across the UK in teaching future generations about the Holocaust.

I have been inundated with messages of support for my Westminster Campaign for Lucy’s Law to end third party puppy sales in pet shops and from puppy farms.  I am hosting a further event in parliament in this regard and over fifty MPs have now signed the Early Day Motion that I tabled.  If you want to join my campaign, please just let me know.

My surgeries are every Friday from 3:30pm at the Civic Centre with no appointment required.  You can also contact my office anytime 9-5pm Monday-Friday on lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk or 01355-587430

 

Media

EAST KILBRIDE NEWS 3/1/18

05/07/2018

The New Year rightly is a time of reflection, whilst we look back at the year that has passed and also, take the opportunity to look forward to new events in the year ahead.  All in all 2017, was an eventful year probably a touch too eventful for myself.

Of course, 2017 witnessed a snap election been called in June and instead of giving the UK Conservative government a strong mandate, especially for a Hard Brexit it has made put them in a much weaker position.  Also, despite his boasting at Glastonbury, Mr Corbyn is not PM despite him telling people he would be at the end of the last year.

It was a privilege to be re-elected and serve you, as your Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.  In terms of my constituency workload I have dealt with nearly 7700 cases and visited over 160 businesses and organisations, since been elected in 2015.  Constituency wide my offices both in East Kilbride and Strathaven are dealing with a variety of issues ranging from problems with anti-social behaviour and welfare benefits, and these are only some of the issues that constituents see me about.  As someone born and bred in the constituency is really special for me, to represent people that I grew up with in the area.

It has been an extremely busy time in Westminster for me, with much of my parliamentary focus has been on my role as Mental Health Spokesperson for the SNP in the House of Commons, especially since the election.

In terms of linking my constituents interests with the House of Commons, I am still chair of the APPG on Disability and am also, co-chair of the newly established APPG on New Towns.

I have voted in 87.67 of votes in this Parliament and spoken on 82 debates in the last year and I have submitted 91 written parliamentary questions, in the last year.

In terms of looking forward, to the year ahead, I am pursing my interests in animal welfare issues in advocating for Lucy’s Law, this would ban the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third party commercial dealers and would be a be a major step forward in putting an end to unnecessary animal cruelty and helping to eradicate forms of irresponsible dog breeding and selling, such as puppy farming, smuggling and trafficking.

Also, a digital forum has been launched on Money Saving Expert’s Website where people can tell us how the RBS closures will affect their communities. Constituents affected by these closures can to contribute to this forum. The deadline to comment on the forum is Tuesday 9 January.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my constituents a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

 

Media

East Kilbride News 12/2/18

05/07/2018

I have continued to make representations to the UK Government regarding Universal Credit and PIP Assessments.  The policies appear flawed and are driving constituents into poverty via delayed processing and faulty decision making, often overturned at appeal.  I raised these issues with the Secretary of State for DWP in the House of Commons and she agreed that I submit cases that require additional scrutiny directly to her.  Any constituents who are struggling and who have not yet contacted me please now do so on lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk or 01355 587430

 

In my work with the Health Select Committee we are undertaking an Inquiry into Children and Young People’s Mental Health.  There appears to be a particularly difficult transition period between Children’s and Adult Services around the age of 18 with evidence that many young people are dropping out of services but require ongoing support.  I have raised this issue with the Mental Health Ministers at Westminster and Holyrood.   I note that the Royal College of Paediatrics Child Health Report recently praised The Scottish Government’s progress on policies for young people including childhood obesity, child poverty and child and adolescent mental health services.   Progress is being made in Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to build upon this.

 

Following from my high profile campaign for Lucy’s Law as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dog Welfare, I am pleased that the Secretary of State has now announced a consultation on banning third party puppy sales.  Puppies should not be sold in pet shops or via third parties online as this facilitates puppy farming, appalling animal welfare standards and illegal importing.  Money made from puppies bred in absolutely squalid conditions and imported from Europe, reportedly falls behind that of only arms and drug dealing.  Please support my campaign for Lucys Law to give puppies the best possible start in life.

 

As many of you are aware I have been working hard to save our RBS branches in Strathaven and Lesmahagow from closure.  Both branches are much needed and utilised by constituents five days per week.  I spoke in the Community Banking Debate in Parliament last Thursday to once again highlight our concerns and to challenge the UK Government to act. We own the majority of RBS and it must provide community banking. My petition to save our RBS branches has also been presented in Parliament, is the first petition to be presented, and as such, the Minister must respond.

 

I was delighted to visit Jackton Police Training College locally to find out about policing issues and to speak directly with officers on the frontline.  All officers within Police Scotland have now undertaken mental health awareness training including autism awareness so that they can respond appropriately to calls where these issues are relevant.  In a recent parliamentary debate we learned that only a third of police officers in England have had this training.  We must ensure best practice and I was pleased to highlight in parliament the excellent leading work being rolled out from our constituency.

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