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East Kilbride News 08/10/18


We are on conference recess and I have really enjoyed being able to spend so much more time in the constituency, where I can personally address your local concerns. I held my carer’s surgery last week and was struck by the support needed for carers of partners who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, and also the supports needed for young carers with parents who have physical disability or mental health issues. Government across the UK is absolutely indebted to the work that carers provide and I am so pleased that the Scottish Government are recognising their contribution via their carer’s allowance and supportive legislation going forward. As individual parliamentarians, we must also do all that we can and I will be continuing my surgery for carers every quarter in the East Kilbride Library.

I was pleased to have the recent success delivering for our constituents in Strathaven by having the local Post Box reinstated on the corner of the street across from Lidl’s. It was particularly important for my local elderly constituents who use the post box regularly, as it is well placed for easy access, and I am delighted for them that a satisfactory outcome was achieved.

It was a privilege to attend the Third Sector Awards hosted by VASLAN in order to support all of our local groups and organisations who do such amazing volunteering. Darcy’s Equine Assisted Learning from Glassford won their category linked with providing Training Opportunities for young people. The organisation supports young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties and engages with them in healing through horse welfare activities. This unique project does wonderful work which reaches out and is exceptionally therapeutic to those young people who struggle with emotional connection.

East Kilbride’s Agape Wellbeing and the Swap and Save One Stop Shop also did fantastically well to have their organisations nominated for awards. Agape Wellbeing do fabulous work supporting people across East Kilbride with mental health issues and in providing social support and activity groups; and the Swap and Save One Stop Shop whose logo is “swopping is the new shopping” word very hard to reduce waste and to recycle clothing protecting our environment. I was pleased to personally congratulate and to thank our local groups on the night.

I also had the pleasure of attending St Andrews St Brides High School Awards which allowed me the opportunity to present my Debating Shield Award 2018 to two very impressive pupils Neve McArthur and Jessica

Hagan. It is absolutely refreshing to see how many of our young people are developing such high level skills.

I will be back in the House of Commons this week and I have been invited to an event at Downing Street linked with my work on mental health in parliament. Our select committee report on prison mental health care and treatment will be published in the near future and I am hopeful that both recommendations for improvement in services and funding will be taken forward. Our NHS, mental health and disability continue to be my key priorities at Westminster.


Strathaven Echoes Column 3/10/18


We are on conference recess and I have really enjoyed being able to spend so much more time in the constituency, where I can personally address your local concerns. I am delighted to have ‘delivered’ for constituents in Strathaven by having the Post Box reinstated on the corner of the street across from Lidl’s after writing to Royal Mail on numerous occasions on this issue when the post box was removed. It is particularly important for my local elderly constituents who use this post box regularly, it is well placed for easy access, and I am pleased that a satisfactory outcome was achieved for all.

I am also delighted to have nominated Strathaven’s The Weavers for Parliamentary Pub of the Year following from their gaining the most votes on my Facebook Poll. They are delighted with this accolade but I have to say it is extremely well deserved because they are engaged in a variety of local charity and community work alongside providing a range of great ales.

It was also very inspiring to meet with local staff from The Cats Whiskers at Sanderson High School in East Kilbride last week when we were both attending to support the charity ‘Friends of Sanderson High’. The Cats Whiskers are a fully inclusive employer and offer opportunities for young people with learning disabilities enabling them to gain work experience and to go on to fulfil their full potential. As Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group over the past three years at Westminster, I am very proud of their achievements. My office is also offering work experience to pupils from Sanderson High because when it comes to diversity and inclusion, it is imperative that politicians don’t just talk the talk to businesses but also walk the walk themselves.

I additionally attended the Third Sector Awards last week hosted by VASLAN to support our local groups and organisations. I was delighted that the Trust Jack Foundation in Stonehouse won the Award for Health and Wellbeing for providing vital mental health supports to young people in crisis. It was lovely to be able to personally congratulate them on the night and to wish them well with future projects.

Darcy’s Equine Assisted Learning from Glassford also won an Award linked with providing Training Opportunities for young people. I understand that they support young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties and engage them in healing through horse welfare activities. This unique project do wonderful work which reaches out and

is exceptionally therapeutic to those who struggle with emotional connection.

I will be back at Westminster before my next column and we will be honing in on Brexit negotiations. Things still seem to be exceptionally chaotic and party conferences have to date, given no further clarity on the Conservative or Labour Party position as differing MPs continually relay polarised views. Businesses need clarity and stability moving forward and I will continue to stand up for our jobs and livelihoods both locally and nationally at Westminster when we return.


Strathaven Echo 14/09/18


Strathaven is a wonderful part of our constituency that continues to thrive and I have been delighted to support many local organisations, businesses, charities and events over this summer recess. It is testament to our local organisers that our Strathaven Balloon Festival had over 20 000 attendees this year and was our busiest yet. I was delighted to attend the official opening and to thank all organisers for their outstanding work. It is appropriate that I specifically commend them in Parliament for putting Strathaven on the map once again -of culture, sport and tourism, and I will be submitting an Early Day Motion into Parliament as soon as we return -to mark their outstanding achievement.

I am also delighted to announce that one of Strathaven’s local pubs, The Weavers has been voted Parliamentary Pub of the Year by my constituents. The Weavers has long had outstanding service, a fantastic range in produce, welcoming staff and such a friendly atmosphere. Very well done to all at The Weavers- they will go forward to the next round of the House of Commons competition as our entry for Pub of the Year and I will keep you informed of their progress.

As Chair of Parliament’s Disability All Party Parliamentary Group, for the past three years, I have been particularly proud to dedicate my parliamentary service to ensuring inclusion across our society and to campaigning for adequate supports for persons with disability. I was honoured to receive commendation from Disability Rights UK for my work in parliament, which has been entirely fulfilling and has allowed me to meet and support entirely inspirational individuals and groups going forward. I am delighted therefore, to have been voted Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group again for parliamentary term 2018-2019 and will continue to dedicate myself to these important issues.

In our constituency, this week, I am proud to be hosting an event which places inclusion at the forefront of achievement – Meet the Paralympians in conjunction with Channel 4. This exciting event will be held at Stewartfield Community Centre, East Kilbride on 8th September from 2-3pm. It is entirely free entry, with light refreshments served and gives local constituents, young people and their families the opportunity to meet with, have autographs signed and hear the inspirational stories of world class medal winning Paralympians. Attendees include Strathaven’s own Wheelchair Curler Aileen Neilson, Olympic swimmer Abby Kane and Olympic Skier

Brett Wild. These inspirational Paralympians want to inspire the next generation and beyond. I am delighted to host the event and to have been supported by Chief Executive Gerry Campbell of South Lanarkshire Culture and Leisure. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Finally, my constituency office in Strathaven has been extremely busy, with cases involving placing request for school and welfare matters including Universal Credit and Pensions enquiries this fortnight. Anyone affected by any local issue, please pop in to the office from 9-5pm weekdays, no appointment necessary. Alternatively, contact me directly on or 01357 520875 and we will seek to support you going forward.


East Kilbride News 12/09/18


This week, as Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group, I hosted my first “Meet the Paralympians” event supported by Channel 4 and held in Stewartfield Community Centre in East Kilbride.  It was a truly fantastic event attended by our own local Paralympian and medal winner Aileen Neilson from Strathaven, alongside medal winner and Paralympic Skier Brett Wild. 

The event was extremely well attended by constituents across the generations and children in attendance described how inspired they felt meeting the Paralympians, taking selfies with them and holding and wearing real Paralympic Medals.  

I was particularly delighted to have attendance from East Kilbride Disability Sports Club, including their own medal winners from The Special Olympic Games such as East Kilbride’s Diane Gillan.

I felt privileged to try on a Paralympic Medal too as did local Councillor John Anderson, who works really hard across his ward supporting inclusion in sports particularly at The Red Deer Bowling Club Wheelchair Events.  The medals are much heavier than you think and it was truly amazing to be able to see and touch them and to think about all the training that has gone into achieving the ultimate prize and attainment in sport.  

Our Paralympians gave speeches about their journey to the Paralympic Games, the supports they had received along the way and the key elements to their success. 

 Aileen Neilson said that Inspiration was her key and that it was particularly important to ‘keep trying’.  She is the first woman to have skipped a wheelchair curling team in the Paralympic Games (2010) and World Championships (2011).  Aileen won a bronze medal from the 2007 World Wheelchair Curling Championships and a silver medal from the 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.  She then won a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympics a Sochi.  Aileen has a teaching background in South Lanarkshire and intimated that it is particularly important to her to give back to the local community.

Brett Wild is a Paralympic Skier and is the guide of Millie Knight who is partially sighted.  In 2017, they claimed a historic downhill victory at the World Championships as well as securing the World Cup title for the same discipline.  At the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Millie and Brett won silver medals in the downhill and super-G as well as a bronze medal in the slalom. Brett told us that team working was key to his success alongside believing in yourself and learning from set-backs.  He described incurring injuries in sport and having to develop ‘a can do’ mind-set to overcome adversity.  

Hosting such an inspirational event makes me more determined than ever to maintain my key focus on Disability and Inclusion in the House of Commons to ensure that everyone is given opportunity to reach their full potential.  I am delighted to have been re-elected for the third year as Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group and will update readers regularly on this crucial work at Westminster. 

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East Kilbride News Column29/08/18


I have been overwhelmed this summer recess with enquiries to my local constituency office on issues of PIP, ESA and Universal Credit.  Constituents continue to struggle with the changing benefits system and many are experiencing extreme poverty whilst their claims are being processed. I know from contact with Dennis Curran at Loaves and Fishes that our foodbanks are becoming overwhelmed with those in need of basic provisions. My office will continue to do all we can on your behalf via our MPs hotline to DWP, so please get in touch if you need urgent assistance.  

This recess, I have also enjoyed visiting our local businesses and organisations.  East Kilbride has always been at the forefront of engineering and last week, it was inspirational to meet with staff at Mage Control Systems and to hear about their pioneering work in the fields of health and energy.  They have been expanding their staff base in East Kilbride and successfully won an award at South Lanarkshire Business Awards 2018.  

It was also very important that I spend time with Lanarkshire Medical Group who have been successful in their bid to run our Greenhills Medical Practice.  It was very positive to hear about their multi-disciplinary health team including GPs, Pharmacy, Palliative Care and Advanced Nurse Practitioners.  This should provide a holistic service for patients accessing Greenhills General Practice. 

In Strathaven, we have had our successful Balloon Festival, with thousands of international tourists descending upon our constituency to see the amazing array of hot air balloons take off this weekend.  I was delighted to meet with the organisers on Friday to commend this work and for the opening of the festival.  

In East Kilbride, I am hosting a free Meet the Paralympians Event and Autograph Signing at the Alistair McCoist Centre on the 8th September from 2-3pm in conjunction with Channel4.  It will be a fantastic afternoon in East Kilbride for local constituents -where we will hear about the importance of inclusion in sports and the inspirational stories of the Paralympians in attendance -including Olympic medal winners Aileen Neilson, Abbey Kane and Brett Wild.  Please come along and enjoy the day. 

Finally, I am delighted to announce the campaign I launched in Parliament last December for Lucy’s Law to ban third party puppy sales in pet shops and via cruel puppy farmers has been agreed by the UK Government and should become Law by next year. I was invited to Number 10 last week for the announcement alongside campaigners who have worked so hard with me on this issue via the Parliamentary Dog Welfare Group that I Chair.  This legislation will make huge difference to of puppies, targeting the illicit trade in imports and ensuring members of the public buying them are protected.  We care about animal welfare just as we care about the welfare of the most vulnerable and it is testament to everyone involved that our campaign for Lucy’s Law has been such a success.  


East Kilbride News 3/1/18


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.



My Week – 07/08/16


This week I continued work on Disability including providing an update on recent the PIP Tribunal assessment judgement, Westminster Dog of the Year competition and our Scottish Governments progress on Climate Change.




Dr Lisa Cameron has called upon NHS Lanarkshire to review their parking policy for staff at Hunter Community Health Centre.

Since the car park opened in May 2016, Dr Cameron written to NHS Lanarkshire to voice the concerns of number of administration staff based at the new site who have been refused permits to park for free at their workplace.

Staff at Hunter Community Health Centre are only eligible for free parking if they require a space for business purposes, despite NHS Lanarkshire stating that parking at all their facilities is free to use for staff, patients and visitors. Concerns from staff note that parking permits are reserved for doctors and nurses, whilst administration staff have to find alternative options. Parking at Ballerup Hall adjacent to the Health Centre costs up to £5.80 per day for full time staff.

Speaking after receiving a response to her letter, Dr Cameron stated,

“I am disappointed at the response received from NHS Lanarkshire to their staff concerns.

“This has a disproportionate impact on administration staff who generally are on lower wages and are least able to afford a cost of almost £30 per week to park at their work.

“NHS Lanarkshire have said that they will review their policy periodically, and I urge them to take on board feedback from staff who say that the car park is underutilised and reinstate parking rights which are available at other sites.”


East Kilbride News – 22/06/16


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 ( )

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!

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