CONSERVATIVE MEP FOR SCOTLAND

ETS and the coming weeks…

There will be an election in the UK and I am standing in it. I have been selected by the Conservative & Unionist Party to fight the seat of Perth and North Perthshire. It is the constituency where my family grew raspberries (which I had to pick to pay for my school uniform; less fun than it sounds). It’s where I fought my first political campaign - to save my senior school when the council threatened to shut it down. (They shut it after I left). I still have family scattered across its glens. Until my mother passed away, it was where I called home.

25.04.2017.

There will be an election in the UK and I am standing in it. I have been selected by the Conservative & Unionist Party to fight the seat of Perth and North Perthshire. It is the constituency where my family grew raspberries (which I had to pick to pay for my school uniform; less fun than it sounds). It’s where I fought my first political campaign - to save my senior school when the council threatened to shut it down. (They shut it after I left). I still have family scattered across its glens. Until my mother passed away, it was where I called home.

There is a mountain to scale though, and I am not talking about the Cairngorms that begin their climb in the north of the constituency. The seat is held by the SNP with a majority of 9,641. Overturning that vote will be no easy task. However, that is the job that lies before me, and to which I will devote my energies in the weeks ahead.

However, I am a Member of the European Parliament and I have work before me that remains undone, and which I cannot ignore. The reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme, the cornerstone of the EU’s climate change strategy, has reached the trialogue stage. Having steered the reform through both the committee stage and through plenary, I still have work to do. There is a single political trialogue between now and the British election and I will be in the room representing the European Parliament.

There are also several technical trialogues in the weeks ahead, and I will be represented at each. (Technically, MEPs are not allowed to attend technical trialogues). My energy assistant, Theo Mitchell, who recently joined me from the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, will be in the thick of it. He will also be co-ordinating my other energy & climate change dossiers.

I know I can call upon Julie Girling MEP, the co-ordinator of my political group in the Parliament to assist with issues as they arise in the Environment Committee. She was recently voted the fifth most influential European parliamentarian on matters environmental. (I came tenth).

When it comes to fishing, I will continue to oppose the North Sea Management plan, and have already lodged my amendments to the proposal. I will return to speak in the debate should it be scheduled for the weeks ahead. I have already drafted my contribution to the Environment Committee’s opinion on the plan. My fisheries assistant, Sam Dyas, will remain in close contact with the Scottish fishing fleet as other brexit issues arise.

My work on LGBTI issues is in safe hands. I share an assistant, Evert Jacobson, with the LGBTI intergroup secretariat. He is already working on the abuses in Chechnya.  As other issues arise, we will work closely together to address them.

For constituents who have raised issues with me, my office in Scotland will continue to move the issues forward and address any new issues that arise.

And if I win?

Well, I am forbidden from holding a dual mandate, so my term as a Member of the European Parliament will end automatically. The sadness that I feel at that prospect will be tempered by the opportunities that my new role will offer. I anticipated a slightly longer European career, but the British people determined otherwise. Whether I become the MP for Perth & North Perthshire will also be determined by the people. Fingers crossed!