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Tommy Sheppard MP Newsletter
It's been 10 weeks now since we entered lockdown. And while Scotland is now taking the first, tentative, steps to ease this lockdown, our lives remain changed. Things should not feel normal. And I know that many of you are struggling. My team and I remain ready to help. Since that lockdown we have responded to over 1700 enquiries so it can sometimes take us longer than usual to get back to you but we will do all we can to help. I have also been hosting virtual surgeries - keep an eye on my social media channels or call the office (0131 661 8023) if you would like an appointment.
The best place to get the most up to date advice remains the government and council websites:
Scottish Government: www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/ ([link removed])
UK Government: www.gov.uk/coronavirus ([link removed])
Edinburgh Council: [link removed]
You can also find a list of further helplines including those for parents, older people and those concerned about their mental health on my website ([link removed]) .
You can read the Scottish Government's route map document here ([link removed]) and the latest guidance for Phase 1 here ([link removed]) .
I'm aiming to keep this newsletter shorter than usual. I know people are overwhelmed by news so this is about touching base with you all rather than providing a lengthy description of the work I've been doing. As ever, please feel free to get in touch if you have any specific questions or queries.
Over the last 10 days I have received a lot of emails from constituents expressing their anger and frustration about the actions of Dominic Cummings. I share that anger and frustration. There is simply no excuse or justification for him travelling 260 miles, breaking lockdown and potentially putting others at risk of catching Covid-19. The SNP has called for Cummings’ dismissal. We will continue to do so. For him to stay in post is untenable. Not only is the arrogance of these people quite shocking but it belies a brazen contempt for the general public. The real tragedy of course is that this will fatally undermine the necessary public health message and potentially put lives at risk.
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Yesterday my name was on the order paper as a sponsor of the opposition party amendment to Rees-Mogg’s plans. Yet I could neither speak on it, nor cast my vote as I was not in Westminster. In May I spent a lot of time arguing with the Leader of the House about this - you can see one of these contributions contributions above.
The people of Edinburgh East were not properly represented yesterday. Nor were millions of people across the UK whose MP has had to make the judgement not to travel to London – MPs who are shielding, who are in a high risk group, who are carers or who do not feel they can travel safely. They should not have to publicly disclose their (or their families’) personal circumstances to justify this. Many other MPs have made the very difficult decision to be in London. That will not have been any easy decision for any of them and the few SNP representatives who are there will be operating under strict protocols which mandate compliance with Scottish and UK government public health requirements - and they will not participate if at any time they feel they are unable to do this.
Make no mistake, our objections to getting rid of the virtual elements of parliament are not about any inconvenience to MPs. It’s about protecting public health. And stopping this attack on our democracy.
As I explained last month, in dealing with individual enquiries it has become clear that there are some serious issues with the schemes the government have put in place. I have written to the Chancellor eight times in the past month about various aspects of the ** Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ([link removed])
, the ** Self-employment Income Support Scheme ([link removed])
and the ** Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme ([link removed])
. I am still raising issues with these and still facing a bit of a brick wall with the UK treasury. As an example of a further issue - I have worked with colleagues to raise the difficulties with the self employment scheme for those who worked part-time to provide childcare with Rishi Sunak.
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It is abundantly clear that the world has a plethora of serious challenges that cannot be ignored during the pandemic. The murder of George Floyd in Minnesota is deeply troubling and the world cannot stay silent as Trump seemingly finds it acceptable to use tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters so he can stage a photo call. No country, including our own, is immune from racism and we must stand against it in all forms. My Parliamentary colleague, Dawn Butler MP, is coordinating a cross-party letter calling for an immediate suspension of rubber bullets, tear gas and other exports to the USA which I have added my name to. I will continue to work to defeat racism both in Edinburgh East and through my work in Parliament.
I am also deeply concerned about the proposed further annexation by Israel and have been liaising with colleagues and relevant NGOs about the situation. I signed a cross-party letter last month (read it ** here ([link removed])
) and I asked the UK government what action it would take during Foreign and Commonwealth Questions – you can watch this above.
STAY UP TO DATE
Make sure you take a visit to my ** Website ([link removed])
to keep up to date with all my work for you in both Edinburgh East and Westminster.
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Our mailing address is:
94 Portobello High Street, Edinburgh, EH15 1AN
0131 661 8023
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Tommy Sheppard MP . 94 Portobello High Street . Edinburgh, EH15 1AN . United Kingdom
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