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Inside you'll find information about my work during October 2021.
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Tommy Sheppard MP Newsletter
The nights are fair drawin’ in, the clocks have gone back, and autumn is most definitely upon us.
November sees the start of COP26, and the eyes of the world are on Glasgow. Now is the time for the world’s leaders to move from promises to action. But we all have a role to play. For COP26 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, governments at all levels, businesses, civil society and communities need to work together to agree ambitious actions and the finance and resources needed to deliver them. I am confident that Scotland, as a forward-thinking nation, will do our bit and lead by example.
School students sent in a set of questions on independence, climate change and education. The video of me answering them is to be played alongside that of political opponents. It’s a very 2021 way of having a political debate!
I was delighted to attend the launch of the Palestine History Tapestry exhibition, part of the Festival of Palestine at St Columba’s by the Castle. The festival, which was running throughout the first half of October, was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign ([link removed]) .
It was great to meet with the director and trustees of Edinburgh Central Mosque ([link removed]) and hear how they’ve maintained services throughout the pandemic.
On the 26th, I voted against the Tories’ Judicial Review and Courts Bill. This is one of their plans to be above the law. They don’t like it when courts rule against them so they’ve decided to give themselves powers to ignore rulings under certain circumstances and to block appeals. This has been identified by Amnesty International as one of their big areas of concern about the UK.
Did you know 25% of NHS appointments are eye related? I was pleased to support the Macular Society ([link removed]) at their Westminster event to raise awareness, and it was fascinating to experience the simulation of macular degeneration using VR goggles.
Thanks to Tristan and the trustees at Ripple Restalrig ([link removed]) for inviting me to their Participatory Budget Day, which is an opportunity for people to decide, by voting, which local projects should receive some funding. There was a fabulous range to choose from. You can see the list of successful applicants here ([link removed]) .
Early in October I was asked to write an article for the online magazine, Left Foot Forward. I chose to write about Keir Starmer and the Labour Party’s astonishing failure to effectively address their problems with the electorate in Scotland. You can read what I had to say here ([link removed]) .
With each day, we hear about more problems arising due to Brexit. One of the many detrimental effects is the UK is now short by 100,000 HGV drivers. The Tories could fix it in a heartbeat, but they've decided higher prices and shortages are a price worth paying for their obsession with getting out of Europe. I, and many other MPs, signed the road hauliers' letter to the Prime Minister calling for urgent action.
I also confirmed that driving an HGV is a lot harder than it looks!
Research done by the WWF ([link removed]) presented at parliament shows widespread public agreement on climate change policies. So why if the so-called net zero strategy, just launched by the UK Government, so unambitious?
No, not getting ready to take my career in a new direction...
Scottish bus manufacturer, Alexander Dennis ([link removed]) , was in town showing off their latest zero emission buses. The Scottish Government is pumping millions of pounds into low carbon public transport. The UK Government should be doing the same.
I was proud to join the Parliament Square protest against the Tories’ Borders Bill, and stand #TogetherWithRefugees.
Myself, Dawn Butler ([link removed]) and Liz Saville Roberts ([link removed]) joined with Compassion in Politics ([link removed]) to present their petition to the government, calling for an end to lying in politics. Misinformation and outright deceit has no place in politics and, quite frankly, it is ridiculous that a petition is necessary! You can read more about their campaign here ([link removed]) .
As a supporter of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill ([link removed]) , I was proud to sign the Zero Hour ([link removed]) letter to the PM. Time for action, not words from the UK Government.
On October 25^th I tabled Early Day Motion 583 - Proscribing of Palestinian Human Rights Organisations ([link removed]) , calling on the House to condemn the declaration of 22 October 2021 made by Israeli Minister of Defence, Benny Gantz, which designated six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organisations.
This month I lodged parliamentary questions in response to events and constituent requests on... universal credit, mental health funding, adoption pay for the self-employed, Palestine, ivory sales.
Fans of Henry may already be aware that he recently made his first trip down to London. He was very excited to be competing in Westminster Dog of the Year and to show his support for The Kennel Club UK ([link removed]) and Dogs Trust ([link removed]) .
Henry had lots of fun taking part in the competition. He didn't win - that honour, quite rightly, went to Sir David Amess' dog Vivienne - but it's important to remember that the purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the need for improved canine protection.
There is a pet poverty crisis unfolding and where there is a pet in crisis, there is often a person in crisis. No one should be forced to choose between feeding themselves or their pet, and much-loved pets should remain with devoted owners. The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home ([link removed]) works with over 50 food bank partners across East and Central Scotland to ensure pet owners are provided with pet food and basic essentials to support the care of their dog or cat. There has been a 77% increase in demand for their Paws Pantry pet foodbank, and over 1300 animals and their owners a month depend on this service, which can only run due to the generosity of the public and businesses who support it and their dedicated volunteers.
Find out more about the excellent work they do here [link removed] ([link removed])
My office has started a phased reopening. In-person surgeries are now resuming, with safety measures in place. Appointments aren't needed for surgeries, but they are helpful. Please, as with every other in-door activity, wear a mask, and try not to be more than a couple of minutes early for your appointment as there will be limited waiting area space.
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Tommy Sheppard MP . 94 Portobello High Street . Edinburgh, EH15 1AN . United Kingdom
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