This week saw the House return from prorogation on Tuesday, with the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech, which was delivered by the Prince of Wales this year. The Queen’s Speech set out the UK Government’s legislative priorities for the new term, and saw the formal announcement of the Bill of Rights, the Economic Crime Bill, National Security Bill, Energy Markets Bill and the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill.
On Wednesday an Urgent Question to the Defence Minister on the situation in Ukraine was granted. I highlighted the UN’s statement that the death toll is likely to be much higher than the official number. I asked what support the UK Government would be offering to help Ukraine retrieve and count their dead. You can read my exchange with the Minister in Hansard here, or watch on ParliamentTV.
There was another Urgent Question on the case of Jim Fitton, the British archaeologist detained in Iraq. I pressed the Minister to ensure the death penalty is immediately taken off the table, and encourage Jim’s safe release. You can read a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch on ParliamentTV.
Thursday started with an Urgent Question on the ongoing crisis with passport applications. I took the opportunity to thank the Glasgow passport office for all their help with my cases, and highlighted a case my team were dealing with that had been mishandled by HMPO. The Minister committed to reviewing the complaints, and following this the case was resolved swiftly. You can read a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch on ParliamentTV.
This was followed by another Urgent Question on the recent arrests in Hong Kong under the new security laws. I asked the Minister for his views on the new leader’s comments about cracking down on ‘fake news’ and the threat to freedom of press, and whether the UK Government had yet to engage with John Lee. You can find a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch on ParliamentTV.
At Business Questions I asked the Leader of the House to join me in congratulating the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum in Blantyre on their nomination for an award, and asked him to schedule a debate on the importance of the arts and culture sector in education. You can read a transcript of my exchange with the Minister in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
Later that evening I was privileged to have secured an adjournment debate on the collapse of Safe Hands Funeral Plans, which has seen thousands of customers across the UK lose huge sums of money they had invested in the belief that their pre-paid funeral plan was protected. This was prompted by a constituent that contacted me over Easter, who has lost the thousands he paid to the company plans for him and his wife. He was incredibly anxious about the lack of communication from administrators, and the huge amounts of conflicting stories he was hearing about where their money had gone. You can read my speech, and the Minister’s reply in Hansard or watch the debate on ParliamentTV.