Dishonest: MP Jo Swinson argued for tribunal fees in Commons but insists she was against them all along
MSP Gil Paterson has criticised returned MP Jo Swinson for her u-turning on employment tribunal fees.
In 2013, Ms Swinson spent time passionately arguing in the House of Commons for the £1,200 charge for an employment tribunal.
At the time, the Liberal Democrat was the Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs.
However, the Supreme Court announced on July 27 scrapped the act declared it was “unlawful”.
The Scottish Government already committed to abolishing the fee when the administration of employment tribunals is devolved later in this parliament.
Welcoming the judgement, MSP Gil Paterson has asked if Ms Swinson will apologise for actively arguing for an unlawful policy.
Mr Paterson said: “Born again MP Jo Swinson vehemently defended the introduction of fees in 2013 in the House of Commons when she was a minister in the Tory-Libdem coalition.
“She is now saying she is against this policy, however she totally supported and implemented it, proving she is willing to deceive the public and her fellow MPs.
“Did she sell her soul to the Tory coalition? It would appear so.
“Our new MP needs to show some respect for the electorate, who are not idiots and can see what she has done, and apologise.
“Either way, I welcome the scrapping of these extortionate fees — a policy like this would never have passed in the Scottish Parliament.
“All it served to do is prevent citizens accessing justice, many of whom would struggle to magic up £1,200 after being dismissed, perhaps unfairly, from their job.”
NOTES TO REPORTERS
MSP Gil Paterson is urging constituents to make their views heard on unpaid trial shifts.
A consultation has been launched by SNP colleague Stewart McDonald MP for a Bill to ban the practice.
The Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill was introduced on Thursday by the Glasgow South MP.
Now, Mr Paterson is looking for constituents to air their experiences and contribute to the legislation.
He said: “Young people often get a raw deal when it comes to employers, with a lower minimum wage and zero hour contracts especially. Unpaid trial shifts are just another example of the obstacles they face.
“I am very glad my colleague Stewart McDonald MP is taking up this fight and forming a draft Bill in such an open manner. Given the slip majority in the House of Commons, this Bill faces a real opportunity of becoming legislation.
“I would encourage constituents of mine, of all ages, to take part in the consultation, which takes just a few minutes to complete, and will actively inform Mr McDonald in writing the Bill.”
Take part in Stewart McDonald MP’s consultation: https://goo.gl/forms/S76ERUkXy9fWnGWu2
Gil Paterson: Time to end the House of Lords expenses racket — 14 per cent of peers claiming cash for nothing
Clydebank’s MSP has backed calls to end the financial abuse of taxpayers’ cash by unelected peers in the House of Lord.
SNP MPs in Westminster have revealed 14 per cent of peers clocked in for expenses in June without any recorded parliamentary contributions.
They claimed the total monthly expenses of £4,200 made up of daily payments of £300 to cover costs of their supposed duties.
It has now been suggested a new swipe-in-swipe-out system is installed for both greater accountability and enhanced security.
MSP Gil Paterson said: “While this system will be getting used legitimately by many of the peers in the House of Lords, it is absolutely being abused by some. This has to change, there’s no question to.
“Such suggestions will be a bitter pill to swallow for our Westminster elite who seem to thrive off this gravy train.
“These are the same people who have been voting through and influencing hard-line austerity and benefit cuts, causing record-high use of foodbanks in my constituency.
“Regardless of whether you agree with an unelected second chamber, I am sure there is wide consensus among the public to end this racket as a matter of urgency.”
From Gil Paterson MSP (Clydebank and Milngavie)
By Alan Ferguson 07342 061722
NOTES – SNP NATIONAL PRESS RELEASE W/ FUTHER INFO:
For release: Thursday 20th July
NEW SECURITY PROPOSALS ARE OPPORTUNITY FOR GREATER LORDS ACCOUNTABILITY
SWIPE IN – SWIPE OUT SYSTEM COULD END ‘SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE’ LORDS ABUSES
SNP House of Lords spokesperson Tommy Sheppard MP has suggested a new system of ‘swiping in and out‘ for parliamentarians at Westminster, for both members of the House of Lords and MPs.
This would be both as a new security measure – but also as a means of trying to avoid some of the reported abuses of attendance allowances by members of the Lords.
Tommy Sheppard has written to the authorities at Westminster – to suggest the new attendance system for peers would also help to establish for how long those Lords who claim their daily £300 allowance for coming into the building are actually present.
Mr Sheppard has said the current system is ‘simply unacceptable’ and adds to the argument that the House of Lords is an ‘affront to democracy’.
Tommy Sheppard MP commented:
‘’There are so many shortcomings in the way the House of Lords functions – it is an utter anachronism. My suggestions are aimed at increasing their security and that of MPs – but accountability of peers is also key in this proposal. Members of the House of Lords operate under such privileged rules - which are clearly open to abuse - and it is simply unacceptable.
‘’In the last month for which figures are available (Feb 2017) – SNP research shows that 14% of those Lords who claimed the maximum £4200 for that month - made no recorded contribution to parliament whatsoever. My suggestions will allow unelected members of the Lords to demonstrate that they put in a full shift for their £300 daily allowance – or not.
‘’As with anyone receiving public funds, peers should be open to scrutiny about how much time they are involved in debates or committees - by swiping in and out – that will at least be a public record of duration of attendance and value for money.
‘’There are now over 800 Lords and we know that the Tories want to increase their number even more whilst decreasing the size of the House of Commons. This is just an affront to democracy – and while we have to put up with this laughable chamber – we should insist on greater accountability.’’
See letter from Tommy Sheppard MP here :
SNP government expansion of Golden Jubilee Hospital creating 800 jobs is example of why Scotland's economy is growing fastest in UK
MSP Gil Paterson has applauded news that Scotland’s economy is the fastest growing in the UK.
New figures show Scotland’s economy has grown 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.
This is four-times the UK growth rate for the same quarter, the Clydebank MSP stressed.
In Scotland production grew by 3.1 per cent and services by 0.3 per cent.
Since 2007 Scotland’s economy has grown by more than seven per cent – the UK has grown 0.4 per cent.
The findings are detailed in the latest Scotland Gross Domestic Product report.
Mr Paterson said: “Scotland is certainly proving to be a key driver of economic performance across the UK
“The enormous investment in the Golden Jubilee National Hospital is testament to this.
The hospital is world-renowned for its heart expertise and the Scottish Government investment will see it expanded and 800 completely new jobs, not transfers, created. And, I know the hospital is going to great efforts to recruit locally.
“The SNP government’s investments £6 billion infrastructure plan will definitely have spurred this growth.
“Additionally, the Scottish Growth Scheme of £500 million put a considerable investment in our businesses.
“Investing in people with modern apprenticeships and education will continue to support our local economy.
“We risk losing this success with the instability Brexit will create alongside the Tories’ austerity onslaught.
“A hard Brexit is predicted to cost Scotland 80,000 jobs, £11 billion a year and make everything more expensive.
“To avoid this hard Brexit, Scotland must not be torn out of the EU single market – too much relies on it.
“Scotland’s strong performance shows amazing prospects for the future, which means we’ll all be better off.”
MSP Gil Paterson's statement has been partly published today's Clydebank Post, on the human trafficking incident on Montrose Street. A Vietnamese teenager has been picked up by police who is understood to be a victim of trafficking.
MSP Gil Paterson said: “As a former board member of Rape Crisis in central Scotland for 11 years and having set up the first cross party group on men’s violence against women and children in the Scottish Parliament, I am very much aware of this dreadful trade.
“For a whole host of reasons, it is not an easy crime to detect but police forces and authorities Europe-wide are putting in substantial effort to crack down on it. This arrest on Montrose Street and others are a product of this action.
“The Scottish Government would like to have a more active role in terms of the law to stop traffickers getting into our country, but immigration controls and border security are a reserved matter handled by the UK Government.
“In saying that, the Scottish Government works very closely with Police Scotland, which has of late been on a drive to hunt down these despicable traffickers and rescue its victims.
“This evil trade has become ever more sophisticated so it is essential the public, if they have any suspicions they can contact the police.
“I would also like to thank and commend all of those involved in tackling this horrific crime — which is very, very dangerous undertaking.”
Gil Paterson: Armed Forces Day celebrations will not go ahead on advice of Lord-Lieutenant on capacity issues
MSP Gil Paterson has reiterated why Armed Forces Day will not go ahead this year in West Dunbartonshire — following misleading claims from Labour politicians Jackie Baillie and Martin Rooney.
The Clydebank MSP said: “The fact of the matter is a message from the Lord-Lieutenant was read out to councillors at the meeting where this decision was taken, that Armed Forces Day was advised not to go ahead due to capacity issues this year.
“Once again it would seem Jackie Baillie and Martin Rooney seem to be willingly skewing the truth to smear the SNP.
“It must be noted Jackie Baillie and the Labour Party supports squandering £200 billion of taxpayers’ money on the renewal of Trident, rather than bolstering our conventional forces.
“Perhaps if our conventional forces hadn’t been cut in order to provide for Trident there would not have to be a cancellation of year’s Armed Forces Day in West Dunbartonshire.”
Press releases prepared by Alan Ferguson, Gil Paterson MSP's communications manager, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07342 061722..