On Thursday 30th June, Session Four of the Scottish Parliament came to an end as the Parliament broke for it’s summer recess.
I would like to thank the voters of the West of Scotland who have, for the second time, put their trust in myself and the Scottish Labour Party to represent the region. I am very grateful to everyone who voted for myself and the Scottish Labour Party. It truly is an honour to be chosen, once again, to represent the region in the Scottish Parliament. In addition to this, I would also like to thank all the campaigners who put in endless hours in the days, weeks and months leading up to the election.
Over the last five years in the Scottish Parliament, I have been proud to serve my party, the Scottish Labour party, as Shadow Housing Minister, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Reform.
Over the fourth session of the Scottish Parliament, I have also worked on a cross-party basis, serving for a period as the Chair of the Equal Opportunities Committee and Convener of the Cross Party Group on Families Affected by Imprisonment.
Through my work with the Cross Party Group, I have worked closely with Barnardo’s and Families Outside to try and achieve reforms to the criminal justice system to ensure that the system is fairer on families and children who are affected by imprisonment. In February, my amendment to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill was passed at the committee stage of the legislative process. My amendment to the bill introduced the use of child and family impact assessments when a parent receives a custodial sentence.
Moreover, I was proud to play an role in supporting the passage of Equal Marriage through the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill in 2014. This historic piece of legislation will be remembered for generations and I am honoured that I was able to play a small part in history in supporting this piece of legislation through Parliament.
Session 5 of the Scottish Parliament will bring new challenges, reflecting the changed composition of the Parliament after May’s election, but I hope that across the Parliament, progressive ideas and progressive voices will be at the forefront of the debate. To tackle the big challenges our country faces, cooperation is essential and I sincerely hope that the Scottish Government will aim to govern in an inclusive and cooperate manner.
I want Scotland to be the fairest nation of Earth – a nation where, the town, city or region you were born is an irrelevance; a nation where, everyone has an equal chance to succeed in life. I hope that over the Fifth Session of the Scottish Parliament, we can work cooperatively and effectively to make this a reality.
For the Fifth Session of the Scottish Parliament, I am a member of the Justice Committee and a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee, as well as holding the position of Scottish Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister. On a cross-party level, I will also be the Convener of the Cross Party Group on China and Convener of the Cross Party Group on Families Affected by Imprisonment. I am relishing the unique challenges that each of these positions will bring.
I will continue to use my voice within the Scottish Parliament to champion equality issues and to hold the Scottish Government to account when I believe it’s policies and actions could do more to support working people.
The West of Scotland is a large and diverse region, and it is the region I call home. I will always work as hard as I can to get the best deal for the West of Scotland and I am passionate about getting things done for the region. I will always stand up for my region and for my constituents, as without them, I would not have the privilege of being a Member of the Scottish Parliament.
Over the summer, my office is still open, so if you live in the West of Scotland and have any issues that you would like me to help you with then please call my office between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 0141 889 4828 and my staff will be happy to help and advise with any issues you may have.