MP Column- ‘Scotland is not a priority for the UK Government’

Mr MacNeil speaks in the Westminster Hall debate on fishing last week.
Mr MacNeil speaks in the Westminster Hall debate on fishing last week.

Turbulent times are continuing at Westminster and it becomes clearer every day that Scotland is not a priority for the UK Government.

My priority continues to be to stand up for Na h-Eileanan an Iar and for Scotland as the UK hurtles towards an unmapped Brexit.

Angus MacNeil with Nicolson Institute teacher D�mhnall Macle�id at Westminster.

Angus MacNeil with Nicolson Institute teacher D�mhnall Macle�id at Westminster.

I had the opportunity last week to directly quiz the Prime Minister Theresa May as part of my role in the House of Commons Liaison Committee.

I questioned her about the consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Brexit will affects our islands in so many different ways but the UK Government continues in disarray with no clear answers.

Last month I joined my SNP colleagues in walking out of Prime Minister’s Questions – a protest to the total disregard given to Scotland and the Scottish Parliament’s position on Brexit plans.

Now more than ever it is vital that Scotland is heard.

FISHING

I hope we are finally getting close to a solution on the fishing crew shortage crisis which is leaving boats across Na h-Eileanan an Iar tied up.

I have met with successive Immigation Ministers on this matter; written to the Home Office on several occasions; and just last week I once again made a plea to the UK Government during a Westminster Hall debate, to take responsibility and assist the industry by allowing non-EEA workers in to work on the boats.

This is the only way to get the boats back to sea and to allow the industry to work to full capacity.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL

I am very disappointed that Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) are moving towards centralisation of Air Traffic Control services in Inverness over the next decade.

The use of a remote tower to cover all HIAL airports could mean the loss of valuable high quality jobs here in the islands.

On this matter I have written to the Chair of the Transport Select Committee of the House of Commons, Lilian Greenwood MP, asking her to look at the issue of remote ATC services and I have also written to Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP asking the Scottish Government to also look at this issue.

SPACEPORT

North Uist may have lost out at the first hurdle of selection as the UK’s first spaceport but I understand that there are still possibilities for a site at Scolpaig.

There is huge potential in this industry and I hope the islands can glean some of the benefits.

RBS

I am continuing to campaign for the retention of the Castlebay branch of RBS and to reinstate the previous opening hours at Lochboisdale.

The decision to suspend the mobile banking service until after the independent review is an indication that RBS may be realising closing branches is a false economy.

I will continue to maintain pressure on RBS to retain the island branches.

PLEDGING SUPPORT

I was very pleased to pledge my support for Carers during Carers Week.

I am always delighted to have the opportunity to support the wonderful work that carers do in our communities

I also attended a reception at Westminster recently hosted by Arthritis Research UK to hear how aids and adaptions in the home can help people live independently.

I would urge any constituents with Arthritis to reach out to Arthritis Research UK for expert information, help and advice.

WESTMINSTER VISIT

It was great to meet with Dòmhnall Macleòid from The Nicolson Institute when he attended the Teachers Institute Conference in Westminster recently. It’s a good opportunity for teachers to come together to learn about Parliament and take it back to the classroom to engage pupils. I hope to see more teachers from across the Isles participate.

GET IN TOUCH

Contact my office on 01851 702272, email angus.macneil.mp@parliament.uk, facebook.com/AngusBMacNeil or Twitter @hebridesmp