This week at the Scottish Parliament: Delivering progress in the midst of Brexit chaos

Michael Russell’s Holyrood statement on PM’s meaningful vote defeat

Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Relations, made a statement to MSPs at Holyrood after the Prime Minister suffered the biggest Parliamentary defeat for almost 100 years.

Mr Russell said that in any “normal political world”, with “normal, accountable, self-aware politicians”, the scale of that defeat would have led to the immediate resignation of, if not the Government, then at least of the leader of that Government.

He also laid out three steps must be taken by the UK government now.

  1. Remove the threat of No Deal
  2. Stop the clock on Brexit by extending Article 50
  3. Hold a second referendum on EU membership with the option to remain on the ballot paper.

Tories and Labour join forces and refuse to rule out ‘No Deal’ Brexit

The Labour Party in Scotland joined forces with the Tories against the wishes of the Scottish people, by refusing to rule out the threat of a no-deal Brexit.

During a debate on Scotland’s Future Economy, the SNP called on the UK Government to ‘rule out a no deal Brexit,’ which would be a disaster for jobs, household incomes, and investment in Scotland.

The SNP amendment was passed by 70 to 47, with the Green Party and Liberal Democrats supporting the amendment, and the Tories and Labour Party voting against the motion to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

James Dornan MSP: “With the incompetence of this blundering Tory party on show for all to see, and neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Richard Leonard able to offer a straight answer on their Brexit plans, the SNP will continue to fight for what’s best for Scotland’s future.

Glasgow Women Win Battle for Equal Pay

After a long fought campaign, thousands of women in Glasgow won their battle for equal pay this week with the support of the SNP.

For over a decade, female staff at Glasgow City Council have been undervalued as successive Labour administrations refused to budge on their botched pay structure that ultimately favoured predominately male roles.

After years of obstruction and inaction from the Labour party, a £500 million compensation settlement was agreed for the workers.

SNP leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken, who has fought tooth and nail alongside staff to deliver justice for the workers, said she was “proud to be able to recommend a settlement to right this historic injustice”.

European tourists in Scotland surging – while falling elsewhere in UK

New figures show that the number of overseas visitors from Europe increased sharply by 22% in the 12 months to the end of September 2018 – despite a fall across the UK.

Scotland’s popularity as a tourist destination is beyond doubt – and it certainly looks like our friends in Europe are lovebombing Scotland ahead of Brexit.

Access to education improving for young people from deprived areas

There is record number of students at Scottish universities from the most deprived areas in Scotland last year, figures released this week show.

Improving access to higher education is a key priority for the SNP. The new figures show that, in 2017/18, 15.6% of students entering university were from the 20% most deprived areas – just 0.4% short of our target for 2021.

This shows demonstrable progress towards giving every young person in Scotland an equal chance of success, no matter their background or circumstance

Extra money to tackle period poverty

£4 million is being made available to local councils to provide free sanitary products and tackle period poverty.

Scotland is the first country in the world to provide access to free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities – and we are now going even further to improve access and reach more people on low incomes.

Progress made on support for cost of funerals

The government introduced regulations to parliament that will allow a new benefit to tackle funeral poverty be introduced by the summer.

The Funeral Expense Assistance will help people on low-incomes to meet the costs of a funeral, with around 40% more people eligible to apply than the benefit it is replacing.