Set­tling into new life at Holy­rood

Rutherglen Reformer - - Intimations -

Since my last col­umn a fort­night ago, I’ve set­tled into my new role a lit­tle more.

It’s a real hon­our to be one of 51 new MSPs – mak­ing up over a third of par­lia­ment.

There’s still quite a sense of nov­elty, and a lot of firsts still to do.

One thing I have done though is make my maiden speech at Holy­rood.

I made my speech dur­ing a de­bate on cre­at­ing a fairer Scot­land – a topic which truly re­flects why I got into pol­i­tics in the first place.

The road to a fairer Scot­land is not an easy one.

We face many chal­lenges, and some road­blocks, re­gret­tably placed there by other politi­cians who present them­selves as stand­ing up for or­di­nary peo­ple.

Take trade union leg­is­la­tion for ex­am­ple.

As an ar­dent trade union­ist, I op­pose the per­ni­cious Tory Trade Union Bill with ev­ery fi­bre of my be­ing.

It is an odi­ous piece of leg­is­la­tion, which, if passed, will make it al­most im­pos­si­ble for trade unions to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively.

It will re­strict unions’ abil­ity to re­cruit and to rep­re­sent mem­bers, and how they use their re­sources; and it will place re­stric­tions on peace­ful pick­et­ing and protests.

We had a chance dur­ing the Smith Com­mis­sion ne­go­ti­a­tions to de­volve pow­ers over em­ploy­ment – in­clud­ing trade unions – to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

This was blocked by the Scot­tish Labour party.

The SNP will do all we can at Holy­rood and West­min­ster to con­tinue to op­pose the Trade Union Bill, but it is re­gret­table that we have been left to fight for Scot­land’s work­ers with one hand tied be­hind our back. I also used my speech to fo­cus on health.

As a former nurse, I know that our health ser­vice is a fun­da­men­tal part of tack­ling in­equal­i­ties – it is a cor­ner­stone of the fairer Scot­land I strive to­wards.

With record in­vest­ment in health, and a clear pri­or­ity over men­tal health, I have ev­ery con­fi­dence that the NHS in Scot­land is in the best pos­si­ble hands.

The next few weeks will be very busy.

With an­other ref­er­en­dum around the cor­ner – this time on our mem­ber­ship of the EU – I’ll be out on the streets en­cour­ag­ing vot­ers to re­main in the Euro­pean Union.

Our mem­ber­ship of the EU is a good thing for work­ers’ rights, from paid hol­i­days, to ma­ter­nity and pa­ter­nity leave, and even how many hours you can be made to work each week.

The EU re­mains hugely ben­e­fi­cial in ev­ery­day life.

I look for­ward to talk­ing to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble and con­vinc­ing them of these pos­i­tive rea­sons – and oth­ers – for re­main­ing in the EU.

I op­pose the per­ni­cious Tory Trade Union Bill with ev­ery fi­bre of my be­ing

New role Clare Haughey, pic­tured to the left of Ni­cola Stur­geon, was one of 51 new MSPs elected last month

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