eNews 26th June 2022

On Monday I had the pleasure of formally opening the new premises of Peerie Foxes daycare and creche, which provides care for around 50 children. It was great to spend time with staff and see the new location, thinking of all the young minds that will play and learn there. I also met with the Education Service to discuss the Sandwick Junior High School follow-up school inspection.

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eNews 19th June 2022

Once again the SNP/Green Scottish Government has begun stirring up division and detracting from the important issues facing people in the country, as they are focus on another independence referendum. Shetland is facing more homes being plunged into extreme fuel poverty, higher food and fuel prices along with transport issues. Nationally we have the longest NHS waiting lists in history, a cost of living crisis and we need to combat the climate emergency while recovering from a pandemic. You can read more about how the referendum announcement derailed business in the Parliament on Tuesday here in my Shetland Times column.

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eNews 12th June 2022

I hope that everyone enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last week and managed to take some time to pause across the weekend. Holyrood is back in full swing and I wanted to update you on some of the things I have been up to from just before the Jubilee and this week.

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eNews 29th May 2022

Ferry freight disruption this week compounded already struggling capacity. I had hoped to raise the issue with the Deputy First Minister who stood in for the First Minister during this week’s First Minister’s Questions. Unfortunately, my question was not picked by the Presiding Officer during the short time that there is in that session for constituency questions. I have, however, written to the Managing Director of NorthLink and await his reply.

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eNews 23rd May 2022

During a debate on Tuesday about proposals that will see six islands, including Yell, supported to become fully carbon neutral by 2040, I moved an amendment by Liam McArthur which called for ferry replacements and measures to tackle fuel poverty through targeted support to retrofit homes in island communities, which suffer from the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country. The amendment also called on the Northern Isles' internal ferries to be included in the Islands Connectivity Plan which is set to replace the National Ferries Plan. It was voted down by the Scottish Government.

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eNews 15th May 2022

My week focused heavily on the Good Food Nation Bill which progressed to Stage 2 this week. I had put amendments before the Rural Affairs and Natural Environment (RAINE) Committee to strengthen the bill, aiming for it to acknowledge a ‘Right to Food’, to help address prescriptive rules on school hostel meals and to support a framework to oversee the new measures the bill would put in place. Unfortunately of the 19 amendments I put forward all were voted down by the SNP and Green members of the Committee. I fear that we will not be able to adequately scrutinise legislation during this term of the Parliament if the Government Whip is strictly adhered to by nationalist coalition members.

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eNews 8th May 2022

I was pleased to be at Lerwick Town Hall on Friday for the local election count and I want to congratulate those councillors who have been elected for the new term of Shetland Islands Council. Putting yourself forward for election at any level of government is not an easy thing to do, there are winners and losers but each individual deserves our thanks for participating in the democratic process. I wish the new council well and look forward to working together on the many issues that Shetland faces. I also want to reiterate my thanks to the outgoing members of the council for their hard work and endeavours on behalf of the people of Shetland.

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eNews 2nd May 2022 - WASPI, MS, GFN

As you can see from the title of this email, this week was another packed with acronyms:

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Cost of living, Scottish Fishermen's Federation and Digital Voice - eNews 3rd April

Our calendars may now say that it is April but we have had all seasons in one week! I had thought not to bring my winter coat to Edinburgh earlier this week, but I am glad I did. Edinburgh was bitterly cold and witnessed a few snow flurries but nothing like Shetland’s experience.

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P&O, Child Poverty, Fisheries - eNews 27th March 2022

This week we saw the outpouring of condemnation at P&O’s disgraceful sacking of 800 seafaring staff. My Northern Isles Scottish Liberal Democrat colleagues, Alistair Carmichael MP, Liam McArthur MSP, and I wrote to the Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, Sarah Treseder, calling on the shipping industry body to stand up for the working conditions of UK seafarers. The Northern Isles have a long and proud history of service in the Merchant Navy, a legacy which continues to this day. Indeed Arthur Anderson, one of the co-founders of P&O, was a proud Shetlander and MP for Orkney and Shetland, and this legacy informs both our solidarity with seafarers throughout the United Kingdom, along with our concern that such abuses of pay and working conditions could be replicated more widely. For the many families impacted this will be a mighty blow and bosses should not be allowed to run roughshod over workers. Seafarers deserve the same respect, fair pay and fair treatment as other sectors. This cannot be allowed to become a blueprint for the industry and the UK Chamber of Shipping must call out these actions. The P&O boss now admits that the action was unlawful, which you can read about in this BBC article here.

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