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Collapse of the Bute House Agreement

This week has been anything but a quiet one in Scottish politics.

With the collapse of the Bute House Agreement and the resignation of Humza Yousaf, the SNP have left the splits in their party further exposed as they face another leadership contest.


As a Scottish MP, my role includes engagement with both the UK and Scottish Governments on key issues. Like all Fife MSPs and MPs for example, I took part in a regular meeting with NHS Fife senior stakeholders last week  to get updates and to highlight key concerns. It’s easy to joke about politicians pointing at potholes in pictures, but the reality is that as I door knock, the state of our roads, signage and wider infrastructure concerns many in North East Fife and speaks to a wider sense of malaise.


People across Scotland want to see delivery rather than empty promises. Just last weekend, right before his resignation, Humza Yousaf chose to come to Cupar to campaign in advance of the forthcoming UK General Election. But as my colleague Willie Rennie MSP rightly pointed out, despite repeated requests to help those materially impacted by recent bad weather and subsequent flooding, no money for those in Cupar has been forthcoming. The First Minister had the chance to meet with those people, and chose not to do so.  When the SNP were quick to provide financial relief to those impacted in Brechin, you are left to question why there is not a consistent approach when it comes to helping the most vulnerable at the time when they are at their most vulnerable.


It’s difficult for SNP MPs to criticise Westminster chaos and unelected Conservative Prime Ministers when they are delivering similar at Holyrood. Just like the Conservatives at Westminster, the toll of seventeen years of SNP Government is being felt across all areas of public life.  Access to GPs and dental care has never been so difficult. Just last week a constituent of mine wrote to me to advise he had been told that the current wait time for his gastric surgery is 95 weeks, as it is for 90% of people waiting on a similar procedure. How has the Scottish Government let this happen to the NHS? Our schools, once regarded as some of the best in the world, have slipped down the international league tables, and reports of pupil behaviour and violence in the classroom have rightly shocked. And our rivers, including the Eden, are plagued by sewage whilst monitoring itself remains poor.


My team support many constituents with a variety of issues, and I raise many of them in Parliament. I’ve also effected change. At the beginning of April, the Carer’s Leave Act, which I passed through Parliament as a Private Members Bill, came into force. The Act means that unpaid carers can take five days of leave from their employment to help balance their caring responsibilities. I’m now engaging with third sector organisations and employers to ensure that as many working carers as possible can benefit from the provisions of the Act.


This coming month the Fife Show returns to Cupar, and we will have the opportunity to celebrate the best of farming in North East Fife and beyond. But I am also well aware of how challenging the farming landscape is for many given the wet weathers of recent months and the ongoing pressures of the energy and other costs. Just last week I held a debate in Parliament on the challenges facing those farmers who are transitioning from tax credits onto Universal Credit. This is causing distress and concern to many at what is one of the busiest times in the faming calendar. Although the Minister sought to reassure on the transition, I remain far from convinced that Universal credit is a feasible option for those farmers who do need to access support.


Whether we see a Scottish election or a UK election first, I’ll continue to raise the issues that you bring to me.


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