I do not want to see us return to a country split over the constitution again
My aim this summer is to speak to as many constituents as possible.
With Parliament now on recess, I have swapped my weekly surgeries for daily ones, alongside door-knocking and leafleting, picking up issues across Rutherglen and Cambuslang, and in Blantyre too.
I deal with hundreds of cases every month, and the past few weeks have been no exception. National news stories ring through locally: from constituents unable to get an appointment with their GP because of a shortage of doctors, to those frustrated with a lack of college places. One of the biggest issues I have to deal with is housing: whether it is people stuck on waiting lists to those suffering from the bedroom tax. Over 150,000 people in Scotland are on housing waiting lists.
I am confident that while housing, the NHS and education are some of the biggest issues concerning people locally, a second independence referendum is not. That is why I was astounded to hear that the MP for the area, Margaret Ferrier, has been spending her time in Parliament quizzing Ministers over their plans for a second referendum next year.
I was especially surprised because Nicola Sturgeon has previously said that the SNP were not calling for a second vote, following last year’s decisive No vote. Ms Ferrier’s comments really have let the cat out of the bag, as follow-up stories to that about her question to the Scotland Office have split the Nationalists.
This week, Alex Salmond described another referendum as ‘inevitable,’ putting both his views for a second vote and Ms Ferrier’s at odds with their party leader.
The decisiveness of last year’s referendum cannot be forgotten easily, and I do not want to see us return to a country split over the constitution again.
While our NHS struggles to meet waiting times, the number of people desperate for a housing transfer grows and the next generation face cuts to college budgets, the SNP are fighting over the prospect of a second referendum.
My challenge to Margaret Ferrier is this: will she keep pushing for another referendum, or will she start speaking up for her constituents and join me in calling on the Scottish Government to do more with the powers they have, over our health service, our education system and housing in Scotland? Proud to pay the living wage
I’m proud to have been accredited as a living wage employer. This is an issue which I have long campaigned for and I believe passionately in.
While I am pleased to be recognised for paying my staff a fair wage, the reality is that thousands across Scotland remain on poverty pay.
That is why I’ll be continuing to promote the living wage across the constituency, and seeing what more can be done to roll it out locally. Cambuslang Park
I was delighted to hear that Cambuslang Park has been awarded a green flag. This is great news for the committee who do a great deal of work. The news put a smile on my face as I enjoy a regular run in that very same park!
Working for you Rutherglen’s Labour MSP James Kelly, who has been meeting constituents in Cambuslang