Last week showed an archaic Westminster at its very worst

Last week was just one of those weeks that put Westminster into perspective for me; at times it really showed this archaic monstrosity at it’s worst. But there was two things that really stuck out for me.

Tories block bill which would stop workers being exploited

I’ve said time and time again that Westminster, and its outdated procedures and customs, are simply not fit for purpose. That point was only made clearer on Friday, when my colleague Stewart McDonald MP’s Bill to ban exploitative unpaid trial shifts was blocked by the Tory government.

The SNP Bill aimed to end the practice of employers asking job applicants to work for hours, days, or even weeks, without any payment or any guarantee of a job at the end of it.

However, instead of tackling the issue, the Tories shamefully exploited Westminster’s archaic procedures to block MPs from voting on the Bill, by talking it out. What a damning indictment of this Tory government.

Shameful Welfare Reform is getting worse

We’ve just passed an anniversary that no one should be celebrating. It’s been two years since the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Act passed in Westminster – one of the most shameful acts of the last Parliament.

It has created punitive cuts to social security in the guise of welfare ‘reform’ – hitting the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. Because of inflation, there will be an additional £3billion cut over the next 3 years – worse than even the Tories could have imagined back in 2015.

My colleague Neil Gray MP is leading a campaign this week to highlight just how damaging the Tory government’s polices really are – and how much worse they will become.

Labour talk the talk on welfare cuts, but couldn’t bring themselves to walk the walk through the lobbies to vote against this legislation in the House of Commons back in 2015.

The Tories refused to believe us when we said these policies would push people into complete crisis. Two years on they can no longer refuse to ignore the evidence. The Tories urgently need to reverse these cuts and restore dignity and support to social security.

Some good news

Despite all this, there was some good news. The SNP Bill to reunite refugee families – led by Angus MacNeil MP – passed its first hurdle in parliament. At the moment, the UK government’s inhumane and strict immigration rules forces refugees – who have escaped hell on earth – to be kept apart from their families, leaving young refugee children vulnerable and alone.

It’s not a political issue, but a humanitarian one. And it was backed by MPs from all parties, Amnesty UK, UNHCR, Oxfam and celebrities. It’s a campaign to right a grievous injustice, and a sign of what can be achieved when parties work together.