ANGUS Brendan MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has won the chance to be one of the first MPs in this session of parliament to make their own mark on the law by introducing a Private Members’ Bill.
These are public bills introduced by MPs who are not government ministers.
Mr MacNeil was drawn in seventh place out of the 461 MPs who took part in a ballot of members.
Twenty ballot balls were drawn by clerk assistant John Benger, with the names of the successful MP read out by the chairman of ways and means, Lindsay Hoyle MP.
However, as time for debating Private Members’ Bills is limited to just 13 Fridays in each parliamentary session, only the top seven in the ballot are virtually guaranteed debating time.
The next step will be the presentation of the bill on Wednesday July 19, when the 20 successful MPs will introduce their chosen bills in the House of Commons chamber at the start of the day’s proceedings.
MP ANGUS Brendan MacNeil has been pressing the UK government to support renewable energy projects in the islands and, on Tuesday July 18, he will again maintain this pressure when he meets Richard Harrington, under-secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Mr MacNeil said: ‘Locational price modelling is ruining the chances of island renewables wind projects.
‘The islands need to be considered as a distinct category open for CfDs (Contracts for Difference) to make wind projects in the islands viable.
‘I will be meeting Richard Harrington to again highlight the urgent need for action to allow renewable energy projects in the islands the opportunity to progress.’
MR MACNEIL last week met the Jo Cox Commission to raise awareness of loneliness in Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
Mrs Cox, who was murdered by a constituent last year, set up the commission, along with 13 organisations.
The commission is continuing her legacy by raising awareness about loneliness and working to reduce the stigma of being lonely.
Mr MacNeil said: ‘A British Red Cross survey found one in five people said they always or often felt lonely. Being lonely isn’t just a feeling, it’s considered to be as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
‘Many people link loneliness with older people, but that’s by no means the full picture.
‘I’ve signed a pledge to support the commission in its aim to tackle loneliness – both in Na h-Eileanan an Iar and in my role in parliament. You can pledge to start a conversation too through the Jo Cox website https:// www. jocoxloneliness. org/pledge.’
NA H-EILEANAN an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan has expressed his concern at physiotherapy provision in the Western Isles, following representations made to him by concerned parents.
A large number of frustrated parents and carers attended a paediatric physiotherapy event at the Caberfeidh Hotel in Stornoway last Tuesday to discuss the issue with NHS Western Isles and the integrated joint board (IJB).
Dr Allan said: ‘I have been contacted by a number of parents whose children have been unable to get an appointment since the retirement of the paediatric physiotherapist in June.
‘I understand that the post has been advertised twice and that efforts continue to fill the post.
‘I appreciate that the IJB and Western Isles have recognised these concerns and have confirmed they will work with both parents and carers closely on this issue.
‘However, in the immediate short term, there are clearly concerns among this group of parents which need to be addressed, and I have raised these in correspondence with both boards.’
Angus MacNeil, above, and Alasdair Allan.