Easter Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 29th March 2018.

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Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade Unions and Workers' Rights) 4:28 pm, 29th March 2018

I join others in wishing you, Mr Speaker, and all Members and staff a happy and peaceful Easter. It is an opportunity to rest and to work with the many organisations in our constituencies. For many of us, it is an opportunity to have a good night’s sleep. As someone who took a Lenten vow of no chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cake and crisps, I look forward to familiarising myself—modestly, of course—with some of those items.

This has been an excellent debate in which many Members have raised their special causes. I very much agreed with the comments made by the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, Ian Mearns, about the passport contract. I can assure Sir David Amess that the Work and Pensions Committee will be looking again at the matter of funeral poverty.

I thank Mary Glindon for mentioning Simeon Andrews and his great contribution to parliamentary groups across this House. I can assure Martin Whitfield that I have signed his early-day motion on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He gave an excellent speech. I am grateful to Vicky Foxcroft for her comments on the youth violence commission, and it was a pleasure to welcome its members to my constituency.

I very much associate myself with the comments on shipbuilding made by Mr Sweeney. We also heard my hon. Friend Drew Hendry talk about his beautiful constituency, despite the scurrilous remarks that were made by those on the Government Benches.

Like other hon. Members, I have tabled a number of early-day motions: early-day motion 730 praises the work of the Priesthill community breakfast; early-day motion 732 congratulates the work of the community kitchen in Hillington in my constituency; and, of course, early-day motion 733, a copy of which I handed over at a recent service, congratulates St Andrews and St Nicholas church, which collected food, clothes and toys for children for its Christmas collection. Those early-day motions demonstrate that there are still many challenges in the social security system that the Government need to address. All those organisations are doing great work and we should congratulate them, but they are not part of the social security system. What they are doing is picking up the failings of the social security system and we should not forget that.

This year is the centenary of Catholic education in Scotland, and early-day motion 735 gives us the opportunity to celebrate the contribution that Catholic schools have made to the nation of Scotland. They have done great work in improving educational standards. I was also delighted to table early-day motion 736 for Govan High School and its fundraising efforts for a pensioner who was robbed of his savings. The pupils managed to gather £1,000 in two weeks, and they should be congratulated.

There are not enough statues to women across the United Kingdom. Like many hon. Members, I was delighted to see the unveiling of the Mary Barbour statue in Govan—Mary Barbour led the rent strikes during the first world war when private landlords were putting up rents. That episode was shown in a BBC documentary. It was a privilege to be there for the unveiling of the statue and a privilege to table early-day motion 989 to celebrate the event. I also tabled early-day motion 731 on Tea in the Pot women’s services, which does fantastic work for women, particularly vulnerable women, in my constituency.

Like many others, I am very concerned about the actions of the Turkish military forces in Afrin, northern Syria. The Kurdish community—I have a good Kurdish community in my constituency—is very concerned about the lack of action from the UK Government and their failure to condemn the Turkish military forces. It is quite clear that the best force in terms of rolling back Daesh has come from the Kurdish community in Syria. The actions of the Turkish Government are, quite frankly, appalling and are rolling back that work.

I hope that all hon. Members enjoy the sleep, enjoy their Easter and familiarise themselves with many of the things that I referred to earlier. I look forward to seeing them all back in April, when I and my colleagues on the SNP Benches will continue to hold this Government to account.