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Inside you'll find information about my work during July 2021.
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Tommy Sheppard MP Newsletter
The announcement that Scotland is to move beyond level 0 will be welcome news for all those involved in the Edinburgh Fringe ([link removed]) and I’m looking forward to catching some shows myself over the next few weeks. Now that Parliament is in recess, I have also been taking the opportunity to remind myself what wonderful cultural attractions Edinburgh has to offer. We are truly lucky to have all this on our doorstep and, now that we have a bit more freedom, I encourage everyone to get out there and explore.
Early in July, Julie and Patsy from National Museums Scotland ([link removed]) very kindly showed me round a brilliant exhibition of just some of the 2.4 million items in our national collection. Most galleries are now open. This is well worth a visit; the kids will love it – especially The Galloway Hoard of Viking-Age Treasure!
The Edinburgh Medal ([link removed]) is an award instituted by the City of Edinburgh Council, and presented during the Edinburgh International Science Festival, to honour men and women of Science and Technology who have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity. This year it is awarded to Prof Heidi Larson for the role she has played in recognising the importance of popular and widespread misunderstandings of vaccines; approaching it with empathy and understanding, not condemnation, developing programmes and international organisation and networks to practically engage with communities to advance public health and social well-being. It was my honour to be invited to City Chambers to see her receive this award.
On the 5^th July I popped into The Fruitmarket ([link removed]) to get a sneak preview of the refurbished and extended gallery before it opened the following day. Thanks to Fiona and Armida for showing me round the new Karla Black exhibition. A great place to lose yourself and it has a fab café too!
It was great to visit the Scottish National Gallery ([link removed]) and see how they’re gearing up for the increase in visitors this month. Thanks to Director, John Leighton, for showing me round. It’s open every day, free and, even if you haven’t booked, there are often returns on the door.
In amongst all this culture I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, I took the time out to pop down to Lauriston Place to give blood. It really doesn’t take long and just one blood donation can save or improve the lives of up to three people. You can find your nearest donor centre and book an appointment at Scotblood | Homepage ([link removed]) .
A huge thanks to Christine, Manager at Craigmillar Castle, for showing me round. You don’t have to be a fan of Outlander to appreciate the best preserved medieval castle in Scotland. Check it out ** Historic Environment Scotland | Àrainneachd Eachdraidheil Alba ([link removed])
I went to see the brilliant Abstractionistas Exhibition at ** Edinburgh Palette | St Margaret's House, Edinburgh ([link removed])
showcasing the work of four local artists. Unfortunately, this exhibition was only showing until 25^th July, but there are plenty more events coming up. It’s definitely well worth a look.
It was lovely to meet Jane from ** The Velvet Easel Gallery | Art Gallery Portobello, Edinburgh ([link removed])
. A smashing little gallery supporting local artists with a big range of work to suit every pocket. Check it out Thursday to Sunday.
Unfortunately, with the arrival of the warm weather, there has been an increase in reports of drunken and anti-social behaviour at the beach at Portobello. Thanks to Sgt Kirsty McArthur and Adam from ** Edinburgh Police ([link removed])
for taking the time to show me how they are stepping up policing on Porty Prom over the summer months.
I also took the opportunity to visit with Mark Noble of ** Noble Leisure at Portobello Beach ([link removed])
. This family friendly amusement arcade is such a great component of the promenade. Lots of people who loved going there as kids, now take their own children there
Holyrood Park is an exceptionally high-quality public amenity - a place of vast open space, peacefulness & rugged beauty. I hope that we will be able to continue to enjoy it without the noise, pollution and danger caused by traffic. Historic Environment Scotland is consulting on its future use. You have until 30^th September to have your say here: ** [link removed] ([link removed])
And while on the subject of environment, bees are our most important pollinators – they play an enormous part in supporting biodiversity more generally. The more we do to ensure our city is bee-friendly, the better. A constituent contacted me in July to see whether the grass in the Scottish Parliament’s grounds by Queen’s Drive and Dynamic Earth could receive a higher cut, leaving more clover for bees and other pollinators. I was delighted that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body responded quickly to let me know that this would happen from now on. To their great credit, the Scottish Parliament already does a huge amount to promote biodiversity – did you know that they have 11 beehives onsite and that the grounds have been planted with indigenous Scottish wildflowers, shrubs, wild grasses and trees?
More information on what the Scottish Parliament does to promote biodiversity can be found ** here ([link removed])
Some of you may have read in the press recently about my long-running battle with the UK Government to get them to release taxpayer-funded polling data. It is turning into quite the saga, and too long to go into here, but you can catch up with the story so far ** here ([link removed])
New Zealand has been regulating misleading claims in electoral advertising for several decades, so it was very interesting to have the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Advertising Standard’s Agency join a briefing with a cross party group of MPs and explain how it works. I also had a chance to have my say, pointing out that the UK Government’s defence of ‘freedom of speech’ seems to just be protecting their ‘freedom to lie.’
** ([link removed])
This month the ** Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman ([link removed])
found that ** WASPI ([link removed])
women have suffered maladministration at the hands of Department for Work and Pensions - DWP. Nothing will make up for the stress and lost time with family for many, but it's now past time for the Tories to properly compensate all women affected.
On 20^th July Baroness Davidson took her seat in the House of Lords. Unelected and now unaccountable. How can we call this system of government a democracy?
Finally, I am delighted to welcome Marco Biagi as my new Chief of Staff. He has hit the ground running and has already proved himself to be a great addition to my fabulous, hard-working team.
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Tommy Sheppard MP . 94 Portobello High Street . Edinburgh, EH15 1AN . United Kingdom
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