West­ern Isles

The Oban Times - - Districts -

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.

Re­new­ables

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.’

Cox com­mis­sion

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.’

Phys­io­ther­apy

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.

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