There are reports that Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy intends to stand again as a candidate for the East Renfrewshire seat in the May general election - despite his intention to stand for Holyrood in 2016, should he still be leader of his party after the Westminster elections. Mr Murphy said on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme in December that he was ‘’not attracted ‘’ to serving as an MP and MSP at the same time.
Commenting, SNP candidate for East Renfrewshire Kirsten Oswald said:
“Jim Murphy has a lot of explaining to do to the people of East Renfrewshire. With less than 70 days to go to the general election he has left this decision up to the wire – his dithering is a sign of weakness. When elected as leader he made it clear he was 'not attracted' to the idea of being an MP and an MSP at the same time - so would he intend only serving the people of East Renfrewshire for a year at Westminster if he gets elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016?
“People in East Renfrewshire deserve an MP who’ll always put them first – rather than one who views our area as an afterthought in his political games. I’m now looking forward to debating him – and holding him to account on spending the last two and a half years joined at the hip with the Tories and backing Tory plans for a further £30bn of austerity cuts.
“By voting for the SNP in May, people in East Renfrewshire and across Scotland know that they’ll have an opportunity to elect an SNP MP who’ll always have their interests at heart, and use our power to achieve an alternative to austerity, halt Trident renewal and use the money saved to secure more investment in the things people hold dear – such as health and education."
Westminster is “completely incapable of cleaning itself up”, the SNP have said today, in light of today’s ‘cash for access’ scandal.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting this morning that Jack Straw - the former Labour Foreign Secretary, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind who also served as Foreign Secretary as well as Defence Secretary and Scottish Secretary for the Tories, and is now chairman of the highly influential Westminster Intelligence and Security Committee - both appear to be offering their services to a fictitious Chinese company for substantial amounts of money.
This will be seen in the documentary ‘Politicians for Hire‘ for which they were secretly filmed. The Dispatches programme follows an almost identical programme broadcast in 2010, which led to the banning from Parliament of several MPs. At the time, Jack Straw said that Labour MPs were “stupid” to be caught in a sting.
Angus Robertson MP, SNP Westminster Leader, commented:
‘’These revelations once again raise serious questions about the way the Westminster Labour and Tory establishment behave and conduct themselves. It is not good enough to brush these revelations aside as a ‘trap’ or as ‘silly things to say‘- as those involved have.
“What is even more galling is that the Dispatches investigation is a rerun of an almost identical exercise carried out just before the last election five years ago. At the time, MPs – including Jack Straw – queued up to condemn the MPs’ behaviour and promise reform.
“Fast forward five years, nothing has changed and we can see that Westminster is completely incapable of cleaning itself up.
“It isn’t surprising that Westminster is held in such low esteem by so many people when we see antics like this. People are sick and tired of this kind of behaviour. Time really is up for this tired Westminster Labour/Tory cosy establishment, which is so out of touch with the way people lead their lives.
“Voting SNP and returning a strong group of MPs in May will give Scotland a strong voice against the discredited Westminster establishment.”
Ford residents join Cllr Lisa Beattie to celebrate the result of their successful campaign to have a 30 mph speed limit introduced through Ford Village. Commenting, Cllr Beattie said;
“It has taken several years but with the unswerving persistence of the residents unanimously backing the campaign we have successfully made the case for a 30 mph limit through Ford Village. Congratulations to everyone!
"Jenny and Colin Grahame, representing Tynewater Community Council, have been keen supporters of this campaign, which began almost thirty years ago. Walkers, cyclists and horse riders have been keen for the speed limit to be reduced but it is the children who walk daily up the hill to Tynewater Primary School who will benefit most.
"Older members of this village community have also been afraid to cross the road to visit neighbours because of the speeding traffic. Reverend Alan Cobain, a local resident, found time to join in the celebration of the news and expressed his delight at the community achievement. This is clearly a victory for PEOPLE POWER!"
The SNP is today posing a series of questions to Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham ahead of his daytrip to Scotland – calling on him to answer for his decision to ‘open the floodgates’ on NHS privatisation and Labour’s disastrous record on health in Wales.
- Andy Burnham previously argued for a single UK NHS – despite saying that the NHS south of the border won’t survive 5 more years of Tory government. Does Mr Burnham still hold this position and how does this fit in with Labour’s claimed commitment to devolution?
- The SNP has already committed to protecting Scotland’s NHS from the impact of the privatisation agenda south of the border by voting to reinstate the NHS in England – will Andy Burnham give the same commitment?
- During the referendum campaign, why did Labour argue that a No vote would ‘protect the NHS’ – when Mr Burnham himself offered stark warnings that the NHS would face serious pressures from the election of another Tory government.
- Is Andy Burnham aware that polling shows that the SNP is by far the most trusted party in the UK when it comes to the NHS – and that NHS satisfaction in Scotland is 45 points higher than in Labour-run Wales? When will he visit Wales to see first-hand his party’s failures in government.
- Will Mr Burnham apologise for his role in signing off on the privatisation of Hinchingbrooke hospital – opening the floodgates on NHS privatisation south of the border?
Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam said:
“From arguing in favour of a UK-wide NHS – meaning Scotland would bear the full brunt of the privatisation and charging agenda south of the border – to his attempts to face both way on the issue during the referendum campaign, Andy Burnham has very little credibility on the NHS amongst people in Scotland.
“And it shouldn’t be forgotten that it was Andy Burnham himself as Health Secretary in the last Labour government who signed off on the privatisation of Hitchingbrook Hospital - the idea that Labour expect us to listen to the man who opened the floodgates on NHS privatisation is beyond belief. Perhaps this is why Ed Miliband is refusing to confirm whether he would make Mr Burnham his Health Secretary after the election.
“Despite Labour’s ever-more frantic attempts to claim otherwise, the SNP’s record on our health service is second to none – which is why we are by far the most trusted party on the NHS while satisfaction in Scotland’s health service is 45 points higher than in Labour run Wales.
“With his party’s appalling record in Wales – and his own record in paving the way for the current Tory privatisation and charging agenda in England – Andy Burnham would do well to try and learn lessons from the SNP rather than making cheap, political points.
“If Andy Burnham can’t use his day trip north to answer some basic questions on Labour’s record, his claims today will fall on deaf ears. As Labour’s increasingly desperate attempts to play political games with our health service continue to fail, no wonder polls show voters place their trust in the SNP to protect our public services. And as Nicola Sturgeon has made clear, a strong team of SNP MPs will use their clout to protect Scotland's budget from Westminster's NHS agenda of austerity, patient charging and privatisation."
The SNP is today reiterating its call for any future EU referendum to require all four nations of the UK to vote for withdrawal before a UK exit could happen – after Nick Clegg argued that a 'Brexit' would lead to Scotland voting for independence.
The Lib Dem leader said today that “if the UK falls out of the EU, Scotland within a heartbeat will pull out of the UK. We will have lost two unions in one parliament".
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already called on parties across the UK to support her proposal that any EU exit should have the backing of each of the UK’s four constituent nations - which would be in line with David Cameron’s rhetoric during the independence referendum that the UK is a ‘family of nations’.
Mr Clegg’s warning comes despite his party colleague Alistair Carmichael claiming during the referendum campaign that there would not be an EU referendum after a No vote – saying: “There is no question of there being a referendum; there is no mechanism for the Conservatives to deliver the referendum in 2017. That is the hard political fact.”
A YouGov poll carried out in Scotland this week showed 52 per cent support for remaining in the EU – compared to just 29 per cent support for leaving.
Commenting, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said:
“For the UK to quit the European Union against the wishes of the people of Scotland would be completely unacceptable. This is exactly why Nicola Sturgeon has been right in calling for any future referendum to require all four nations in the UK to vote for an exit before the UK could pull out of Europe.
“Polls continually show that the people of Scotland support continuing to work in partnership with our European friends and allies. If Nick Clegg truly believes that the UK is a ‘family of nations’ as we were told during the referendum campaign, he should back the First Minister’s common sense plan to ensure Scotland isn’t ripped out of the EU against our will.
“During the referendum campaign, Nick Clegg’s own Secretary of State for Scotland claimed that there would never be an EU referendum – Mr Clegg’s comments today prove that we can’t believe a word the Lib Dems say.
“A strong team of SNP MPs elected in May will ensure that Scotland’s voice isn’t drowned out by the Euro-hostility inspired by UKIP at Westminster – and would stand up against the democratically indefensible idea of Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the wishes of people living here."