News & Articles

Some published articles and blog posts from Tommy Sheppard MP

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Media Articles, Radio, TV

Independence is still a simply capital prospect

Independence is still a simply capital prospect

Three and a half months on from Brexit and things are still as clear as mud. David Davies’ statement in the House of Commons this week told us literally nothing about how the Government intends to leave the EU. He talks of a Great Reform Bill, but seems to have no idea what should be in it.

Little wonder people are anxious. Many, from some unlikely quarters, are now asking if it might not be easier for Scotland just to become an independent country after all. Things are clearly going to change. The UK most Scots voted for in 2014 will not exist. The deal has changed. Perhaps the best way to give certainty to our businesses and citizens is to just go for it.

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SNP members must decide if they want to expand or stretch the leadership

SNP members must decide if they want to expand or stretch the leadership

We're nearly there.

The SNP Depute Leader contest is in its final phase. The last hustings debate is in Inverness tonight and most members have already voted. So this week, I want to reflect on what the job might mean.

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Developing a proper regional structure would make the SNP a more responsive, inclusive and accessible party

Developing a proper regional structure would make the SNP a more responsive, inclusive and accessible party

And so the election of a new depute leader of the SNP is underway. Indeed, if previous contests are anything to go by, most people may already have voted.

I’ve made organisational reform the key plank of my campaign. Central to this is developing a regional structure for the party, providing a bridge between the party leadership and branches on the ground.

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Four great candidates, one great big decision – and members must make it

Four great candidates, one great big decision – and members must make it

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the first independence referendum. Getting ready for the second one is providing the backdrop against which SNP members are selecting a new Depute Leader.

Ballot papers go out in four days’ time to more than 100,000 members eligible to vote in the contest. Campaigning by the four candidates began six weeks ago, and the contest has certainly been thorough.

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Time to stop and think about our city’s future

Time to stop and think about our city’s future

I’m privileged to be a Member of Parliament – when your passion is politics there really is no better job. I’m even more privileged to represent Edinburgh East: a constituency that takes in the magnificent natural beauty of Arthur’s Seat, our historic castle and a world heritage site. We are a European capital to be proud of. But there’s something we need to talk about when it comes to the heart of our unique city: the controversy that is planning. Our city is growing and nothing stays the same. Development is necessary in a vibrant and dynamic city like ours. But I fear that our planners are at risk of leaving our residents behind as they chart the future. And there will be a bitter harvest if that is the case. 

Read the full article in the Edinburgh Evening News.

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I believe the SNP organisation needs an upgrade... and I'm the candidate to do it

I believe the SNP organisation needs an upgrade... and I'm the candidate to do it

We're past the halfway mark in the SNP depute leadership contest. Ballot papers go out in just 10 days’ time. This has been, and will continue to be, a good natured campaign – able candidates offering different views of what the job entails, discussing things in a respectful and thoughtful way.

So far there have been 17 hustings up and down the country with many more still to come. A few members have come up to me after these events a little frustrated. They complain that the meetings are meant to help people make up their minds and yet after hearing our presentations they are less sure of how to vote than beforehand.

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SNP depute contest is decidedly dignified

SNP depute contest is decidedly dignified

We’re pretty much halfway now in the ten-week campaign to find a new depute leader of Scotland’s main political party. And in stark contrast to other parties, the SNP contest seems a positive and good-natured one.

Sadly, there are no women in contention, but members do have a choice of four able blokes – any of whom could make a decent fist of the job.

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Women need a better deal ... we can't ease off the gas in our fight for equality

Women need a better deal ... we can't ease off the gas in our fight for equality

The contest for depute leader of the SNP is at the half-way mark. And it’s been an exemplar in how a democratic organisation should conduct itself. Able, thoughtful candidates have treated each other with respect and engaged with hundreds of party activists at dozens of hustings throughout the country. There’s just one thing that could have been better – it’s a shame this has ended up as a blokefest

The absence of any female candidates is a great disappointment and the contest would have been a richer one had there been some. We ought to ask ourselves why this happened. And we ought to make sure that it doesn’t mean that the position of women in Scotland and in our party gets less attention. I’ve heard a number of people remark that whilst it a shame there’s not a woman standing it’s okay since the party already has a strong female leader, and indeed is one of very few governing parties with a gender-balanced cabinet.

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We join parties to change the world

We join parties to change the world

So, I think we can all agree, policy is quite important. We join political parties to change the world. And deciding how it should change can be the most exciting bit. Discussing, thinking, working out how to make things better with others who share the same objectives but may have a different way to get there.

The way we decide policy is crucial to the SNP’s cohesion and strength as a political party. The essence of a democratic process is that it offers a trade-off. In return for being able to argue and maybe win your point of view we each agree to abide by whatever position is eventually agreed by the whole group. People who support a minority position will get behind the majority because there’s been a fair debate on the options. This allows parties, and other organisations, to agree a common way forward and their supporters to rally behind it.

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'It's not about the EU... It’s about who gets to decide whether or not Scotland should be in the EU'

'It's not about the EU... It’s about who gets to decide whether or not Scotland should be in the EU'

And, we’re off! Nominations closed yesterday for the post of SNP depute and it was a shock to no-one that all four previously declared candidates have confirmed their position on the starting grid.

Today I launch my campaign at the CCA in Glasgow, where I’ll be setting out why I want the job.

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Politics should be uplifting and engaging ... let’s make it that way

Politics should be uplifting and engaging ... let’s make it that way

Our party needs an organisational upgrade. That’s why I’m standing for depute leader. Over the next two months I’m keen to listen to members about how they think we can improve but I also want to chuck out some ideas for discussion myself.

This week I’m focusing on the basic unit of our organisation – the party branch. This is internal stuff. Non-party members should maybe look away now. Or maybe not.

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Our strength is our membership. We need to take everyone with us on this journey

Our strength is our membership. We need to take everyone with us on this journey

I’m standing for depute leader of the SNP because I want us to win the next independence referendum. To do that we need to get active, get organised and reach out, building a new independence alliance.

The past few years have been a time of tremendous change in Scottish politics. Fresh ideas have emerged, and old allegiances changed. Tens of thousands have joined the SNP. We need to get our party match fit to lead and win the next independence referendum.

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Why I'm Standing for Depute Leader

Why I'm Standing for Depute Leader

Over the past few weeks I have been approached by a wide range of SNP members asking me to stand for the position of Depute Leader of our Party. After much thought I have decided to do so. Here’s why.

At this critical time in our nation’s history we have a window of opportunity, yet we still have much work to do in a short time. To be successful we need to use all of the talents of our party. I believe the job of Depute Leader is key to our success.

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Put minds of European friends in Capital at rest

Put minds of European friends in Capital at rest

The Brexit vote raises many issues, but one in particular concerns Tommy Sheppard – and that’s the status of EU nationals

It’s just four weeks since people voted to leave the European Union in a UK-wide referendum and chaos reigns. It’s clear no-one, least of all the British government, had the first clue about what should happen if the vote went the way it did. The Scottish Government is fighting to protect Scotland’s position in Europe following a huge vote in favour here. The best brains in the country have been commissioned to see how we can keep our Scottish passports whilst being part of the UK. The new Prime Minister has said that any ideas they come up with can feed into the UK Brexit planning.

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Negative EU campaign is just not my cup of tea

Negative EU campaign is just not my cup of tea

We need to look at the big picture and avoid scaremongering tactics in the run-up to the June referendum, says Tommy Sheppard

With the Scottish election out of the way, the political focus turns to the referendum about whether to leave or remain part of the EU. I’m voting to stay, warts and all.

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Corbyn urged to get behind Westminster voting change

Corbyn urged to get behind Westminster voting change

JEREMY Corbyn is under pressure to back the scrapping of the UK’s controversial first-past-the-post electoral system as the SNP claimed it gives the Tories “free reign” to make massive cuts to public services north and south of the Border.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said the Labour leader should commit to replacing the system, which allowed David Cameron to win an overall majority in the Commons despite polling just under 37 per cent of the vote in last year’s General Election.

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IDS is gone, but ethos behind Budget remains

IDS is gone, but ethos behind Budget remains

 

George Osborne’s policy is all about a long-term political plan for himself, not the country, says Tommy Sheppard

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Hunt challenged over junior doctors being lured from NHS to do fitness for work tests for DWP

Hunt challenged over junior doctors being lured from NHS to do fitness for work tests for DWP

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has challenged UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt to explain why the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) fitness for work test provider was using taxpayers’ money to entice frontline junior doctors away from the NHS with a massive salary.

Sheppard confronted Jeremy Hunt in the Commons yesterday over the fact that Maximus was offering £72,000 a year – significantly more than that paid to NHS junior doctors – to carry out controversial work capability assessments (WCA).

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The necessity of reinstating post-study work visas for international students

The necessity of reinstating post-study work visas for international students

Edinburgh MP Tommy Sheppard is working with the University of Edinburgh to urge the UK Home Office to reinstate a post-study work scheme for international students.

Scottish universities, including The University of Edinburgh and several Scottish government officials have warned against the tangible effects of removing post-study work schemes.

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Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
13 September 2019
Tommys Blog
Media
At two minutes past ten on Wednesday morning I was sitting in court number one just behind St Giles on the Royal Mile. A minute later Lord Carloway announced the unanimous decision by the appeal court judges that the British government had acted illegally in proroguing parliament.  There was an audible intake of breath as the decision hit.I was pleased to join my colleague Joanna Cherry QC, and ot...
Tommy Sheppard
09 September 2019
Tommys Blog
My work for you in Westminster
I've had a few emails recently from people who are asking about the SNP position regarding a general election.While I recorded some video updates last week, one of the limitations of social media is that it mitigates against context and nuance, so it is not always an adequate medium to communicate one's ideas. Also, while the instant nature of social media is useful it is limited in a situation li...
Tommy Sheppard
03 September 2019
Tommys Blog
Media
Under the new Prime Minister, the UK’s headlong dash towards the No Deal Brexit cliff edge has accelerated. Johnson makes demands he knows the European Union cannot accept. He demands the removal of the Backstop. The Backstop was designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement and thus peace in Northern Ireland and is, let’s not forget, an international treaty which is overwhelmingly supported by th...
Tommy Sheppard
26 August 2019
Tommys Blog
Media
And so the parliamentary summer recess draws to a close. This week Westminster opposition parties meet to plan their autumn attack. The week after, battle commences in the palace by the Thames. The parliament and the premier, each with a death wish on each other. The question: who will get the killer blow in first?What is clear is that a General Election is coming. Either the government will colla...
Tommy Sheppard
19 August 2019
Tommys Blog
Media
Dearie me, what’s going on in the People’s Party? First, shadow chancellor John McDonnell states that a Westminster Labour government wouldn’t block a request from the Scottish Parliament to hold an independence referendum. He says it twice just in case anyone thinks the first time was a mistake. And this week Jeremy Corbyn says it again to be sure.Now, in one sense, it’s an unremarkable statement...