Westminster diary

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The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP will join me at a Campaign Rally in Cumnock Town Hall on Sunday 29th March starting at 6pm.

This is a great opportunity to hear a giant of the Labour Movement, former Prime Minister and Chancellor Gordon Brown. Gordon achieved a great deal in both these posts in tackling poverty, taking children and pensioners out of poverty and making work pay.

He also has made a huge contribution to tackling poverty and injustice throughout the world. This will be an opportunity to hear why a Labour Government is needed to give Scotland and the UK a fairer better future.

Public Meeting

I am hosting a meeting on The Persecution of Christians and other Faiths throughout the World on 30th March at 7.30pm in the Auld Kirk Halls, Ayr.

I will be speaking about my experience as a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and will chair the Meeting.

I have heard first hand of people’s experience of persecution in various parts of the world. Our committee raises these issues and the evidence we have gathered with the Government particularly in relation to our scrutiny of the annual Human Rights Report. Other speakers will be: Rev Colin Mutch Open Doors Scotland Director; John Philip from the Catholic Church and Morag Hannah from Church of Scotland. Anyone is welcome to come along.

The Big Debate

I was asked to be on the panel of Radio Scotland’s Big Debate last week. Just my luck to be asked the week after I had completely lost my voice. I managed to find it in time to rule out any coalition with the SNP; to tick off the media for trivialising politics by wanting to talk about politicians’ kitchens; and strongly support Prestwick Airport’s bid to be the new Spaceport. But the bit I got most worked up about was the Budget.

Not what was in it but what wasn’t. No mention of the massive Tory cuts planned - more in the next two years than in the past five and from departments already cut to the bone.

I reminded the audience that 1 in 5 workers earn less than the Living Wage and 1.8 million are on zero hours contracts. I did however have praise for the Budget news that they will work with the Scottish Coal Taskforce to find a solution to the environmental disaster of the East Ayrshire opencast coal sites left as desert after the companies closed.

I have been pressing for this since I secured a Parliamentary Debate earlier in the year. The good thing is that this is a commitment that will carry over to whoever is the next Government.