My Work in Parliament

 

The Scottish Parliament sits three days a week so I’m through in Holyrood from Tuesday to Thursday every week. Two of those mornings are taken up with Committee business and the rest of the time I’m largely either in the Chamber, meeting organisations and groups or undertaking work on behalf of constituents – e.g. drafting letters to Ministers or composing parliamentary motions and questions. I see my role as being here to serve my constituents and make a difference.

As MSPs, we have a selection of Parliamentary mechanisms at our disposal to use in campaigning on specific issues or helping constituents with a problem. These range from the excellent research services offered by the Parliament to ensure we are fully informed and armed with the facts, to the potential to introduce legislation, and a lot of others in between. I’m making use of all of these in the various campaigns I have underway (see Campaigns).

Most publicly, the theme based Portfolio Questions, where we have the opportunity to quiz the Cabinet Secretary or Minster directly in the Chamber, come round in a cycle – e.g. Health and Sport one week, Justice the next – and there’s a random draw to get to ask a question. I do seem to get drawn a fair amount of times and have asked questions on issues as diverse as blood contamination, health expenditure, homelessness, public transport and Brexit. In addition MSPs can ask a written question at any time and the relevant Minister is obliged to answer.

I also bid to speak in the Chamber debates when there’s a topic I’m particularly interested in and have spoken on a range of subjects including many times on the economy and financial matters, Lightburn Hospital, small businesses, refugees and credit unions. In September 2016 I brought a Members’ Business Debate to Parliament – which means I led a discussion on the desirability of including reusable nappies in the Scottish Baby Box – a campaign that succeeded with the pilots containing cloth nappies – kinder on the environment and the pockets of hard-pressed parents.

You can see some of my Parliamentary performances below, though most of the work is really done behind the scenes.

 

The Scottish Government wants your views!

The Scottish Government wants your views!
Local people needed!!! At least 2,000 people with experience of the current social security system are being recruited to help shape Scotland's new system – allowing the Scottish Government to learn from mistakes made in the past. The panels will work with the expert advisory group on disability and carers' benefits. The Scottish Government ha...
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Substance Vs. Soundbite

Substance Vs. Soundbite
I know this is a bit of an essay but I think it is important to set out very clearly what is going on with the consultation about Lightburn Hospital.The last Labour-LibDem administration in Holyrood set up a process, in 2010, to manage proposals from Health Boards for changes in services.That is the process that is being followed now. It is designe...
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Ivan McKee MSP urges local people to find out more about pancreatic cancer

Ivan McKee MSP urges local people to find out more about pancreatic cancer

Ivan McKee MSP is encouraging people in Glasgow to know the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, and is supporting a drive to improve the care of local people with the disease.

Following on from a recent ComRes survey which found that three quarters of people in Scotland could not name a single symptom of pancreatic cancer unprompted, Ivan McKee MSP is joining Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and Pancreatic Cancer UK in their efforts to spread the word about the warning signs of the disease.

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Launch of Decent Work report

Launch of Decent Work report

First week back after Summer recess and a busy week in Parliament. The Parliament aims to be open and accessible to people in Scotland and organisations and groups can book the various rooms and spaces we use in the day, for evening events. On 7th September I sponsored my first event – meaning I hosted the launch of a report by Oxfam, the University of the West of Scotland and Warwick University Institute of Employment Studies. This important report Decent Work calls for a job to be done to improve work conditions for Scotland’s low paid workers.

The researchers worked with over 1,500 people in a wide range of low paid work and circumstances and identified 26 aspects of what makes work "decent". Keith Brown the Cabinet Secretary of Economy, Jobs and Fair Work gave a response from the Government and welcomed ideas for what we can do in Scotland with the powers we have to ensure everyone feels they have decent work.

 
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My Debut Speech

My Debut Speech
My debut speech to the Scottish Parliament, 26th May 2016, on Taking Scotland Forward - delivering for the people of Scotland and the people of Glasgow Provan.
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What does the Scottish Parliament do?

Since the Scottish Parliament reconvened in 1999, decision making power has been split between the UK Parliament at Westminster, in London and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, in Edinburgh. Scotland elects MPs to the UK Parliament and MSPs to the Scottish Parliament.

The UK Parliament devolves some powers to the Scottish Parliament and reserves a range of issues to itself. Thus the Scottish Parliament can make laws on devolved matters whilst reserved matters remain the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster.

Since 1999 a limited level of further devolution has taken place, or is in the process of being considered for implementation, following the Scotland Acts of 2012 and 2016. 

The following table broadly outlines the current situation regarding devolved and reserved powers. It's also a quick guide to the areas I can help you with – the issues devolved to the Scottish Parliament (e.g. housing and health) - and the issues relating to powers reserved to Westminster where you need to go to your MP (e.g. most welfare benefits, immigration). But don't be afraid to ask us first, we can easily refer you to the right place.

Devolved to the Scottish Parliament

  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • Culture and the arts
  • Economic development
  • Education and training
  • Environment
  • Health and social care
  • Housing
  • Law and order
  • Local government
  • Planning
  • Social Work
  • Sport
  • Taxation (some, limited)
  • Tourism 
  • Transport (some, limited)
  • Welfare benefits and employment schemes (some, limited, currently being introduced)

Reserved by the UK Parliament

  • Welfare benefits and social security (most)
  • Immigration
  • Defence
  • Foreign policy
  • Employment
  • Broadcasting
  • Trade and industry
  • Nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity
  • Consumer rights
  • Data protection
  • The Constitution

Committees and Groups

There's a lot more to the Scottish Parliament than the debating chamber! MSPs sit on a range of committees and groups designed to ensure that they get the best possible evidence and information from the widest range of expert sources. Some of the key groups/roles are:

Committees

I'm a member of the Finance Committee and the Health & Sport Committee

Committees of the Scottish Parliament are established by the Parliament as a whole and have a formal set of roles. They are empowered to scrutinise legislation and also to initiate it. The job of the committee is to consider matters within its remit and report on them to the Parliament. This includes: conducting inquiries scrutinising the policy and administration of the Scottish Government scrutinising Bills, statutory instruments, proposals for European Communities legislation or other proposals to change the law initiating a Committee Bill or considering the need for reform of the law considering the financial proposals and financial administration of the Scottish Government. Committees meet every week when Parliament is sitting. They meet and take evidence from external agencies and individuals, consider issues and produce reports to Parliament.

Cross-Party Groups

I'm a member of a number of CPGs

Less formal are Cross-Party Groups (CPGs) which, as their name suggests, comprise at least three (currently) different political parties represented in the Parliament. Individuals and external organisations with an interest in the topic can also join. They are initiated by an MSP with a particular interest in an issue and all MSPs are eligible to join. Only those Groups approved by the Parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee are permitted to use the title ‘Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament’. Whilst CPGs don’t have the power to take decisions that affect the law, they provide an opportunity for MPs of all parties, outside organisations and members of the public to meet and discuss a shared interest in a particular cause or subject.

Parliamentary Liaison Officers

I'm Parliamentary Liaison Officer (PLO) to Keith Brown the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.

Parliamentary Liaison Officers (PLOs) are MSPs appointed by the First Minister on the recommendation of Government Ministers whom they assist in carrying out their work. PLOs are unpaid and are not part of the Scottish Government.

 

Surgeries

03/11/17 10:00 - 10:45

03/11/17 11:15 - 12:00

03/11/17 12:30 - 13:30

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