News

MIDLOTHIAN MP SALUTES LOANHEAD PARALYMPIC HOPEFUL

Owen Thompson, SNP MP for Midlothian, today saluted Scott Quin, Loanhead’s Paralympic hopeful and recent Sporting Hero nominee for the Daily Record Our Heroes awards by submitting a Parliamentary motion in the House of Commons.  Mr Thompson is the primary sponsor of an Early Day Motion to the UK Parliament, congratulating Scott on his nomination and wishing him continued sporting success.

Scott was diagnosed with Crouzon Syndrome at birth and given a three percent chance of surviving past his first birthday.  Defying the odds, at 25 he has gone on to become one of the UK’s top para-sport swimmers and a record-breaking Paralympic hopeful.  Scott currently holds the British Record for 100m and 200m Breaststroke and hopes to win Gold at this year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.  He is also an ambassador for the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Difficulties, and through this role hopes to inspire other young disabled people to take up sport.

Commenting, Owen Thompson MP said:

“I am delighted to present this Early Day Motion in honour of Scott Quin.  His Sporting Hero nomination for the Daily Record Our Heroes Awards is well deserved; he is an inspiration to all, and the true definition of sporting hero.  I wish him all the best at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and look forward to cheering on his progress.”

SNP CONDEMN ORGANISATION OF “SEXIST AND HATE-MONGERING” MEETINGS

The SNP has called for action to be taken against the organisation of “sexist and hate-mongering” meetings across the UK by the so-called “Roosh V” who came to notoriety when he previously advocated for rape to be made legal on private property.

SNP MP Owen Thompson has written to Home Secretary Theresa May urging her to take action against Daryush Valizadeh’s intolerable views, and MP for Edinburgh West Deidre Brock has written to Police Scotland’s divisional commander for Edinburgh Kenny MacDonald questioning the legality of a meeting being organised in Edinburgh at the weekend.

Tommy Sheppard MP and Christina McKelvie MSP have also lodged motions in the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament condemning the organisation of the meetings.

Commenting, Owen Thompson MP said: “I am shocked at the organisation of these misogynistic and hate-mongering meetings in Scotland and across the UK which is why I am calling for action to be taken against this type of behaviour.

“Any form of violence or sexual crime against women is completely unacceptable and while it is vital that everything is done to raise awareness of sexual assault we must also educate those who could become perpetrators.

“Sexist and violent speeches are clear acts of incitement and I call on UK Government to take action against the organisation of these meetings as this behaviour has absolutely no place in our modern society.”

Christina McKelvie MSP added: “I believe this man’s actions are tantamount to incitement to perpetrate acts of violence against women – and should be strongly condemned.

“Threatening and intimidating women in this way is never acceptable.”

Midlothian MP Backs Voter Registration Drive: Everyone In Scotland Must Have Their Say In Country’s Future

With one week to go, the UK prepares for its third annual National Voter Registration Drive, and Midlothian MP Owen Thompson is working with Bite The Ballot and Shelter Scotland to ensure everyone can have their say.

Over 1-7 February 2016, Bite the Ballot and partners will coordinate the UK’s third annual drive to get people registered on the electoral roll. With over a million names falling off the electoral register in December 2015, over 100 national and local elections taking place in May – and an increasingly likely EU referendum – 2016’s campaign couldn’t be more timely.

The deadline to register to vote in time for the Scottish Parliament election is April 18th and the online link can be found here: http://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The SNP MP has also today backed a new campaign by Shelter Scotland aimed at encouraging those living in rented or temporary accommodation and homeless people to sign up to vote.  Further details can be found here:
http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/concern-that-renters-will-miss-out-on-election-vote

Figures published by the Electoral Commission show that only 63.3% of people who rent from a private landlord were registered to vote in 2014, compared to 93.6% of those who own their home outright and 89.3% who own their home with a mortgage.

Commenting, Owen Thompson said:

“These are very important campaigns and I commend Shelter Scotland and Bite the Ballot’s work – nobody in Scotland should find themselves disenfranchised simply because of their living situation and it’s important that we do everything we can to ensure as many people as possible are signed up to vote.

“One of the great successes of the independence referendum was the level of engagement and voter participation that swept across every community in the weeks and months before September 18th. I am hopeful that Bite The Ballot’s focus on youth movement to engage, inform and inspire people to participate in democracy will build on that participation to create a stronger and more equal society by encouraging more disenfranchised young people to become active change makers.

“Never before have so many people signed up to have their say in the democratic process in Scotland – it is vitally important that we aim to retain this level of voter participation as we move into the Scottish Parliament election campaign and ahead of a likely EU referendum – and it’s vitally important that everyone’s voice is heard.”

Coverage of today’s Ten Minute Rule Motion

Image courtesy of CommonSpace / Nuclear Information Service / Nukewatch UK

From the Herald Scotland:

A Scottish MP has condemned the transportation of nuclear weapons through the streets of Scotland as an “unacceptable risk to public safety” and will today propose legislation to immediately halt the unsafe practice.

Owen Thompson, the SNP MP for Midlothian, will raise the issue in a 10-minute rule motion in the Commons; a parliamentary device used to raise an issue of concern but which rarely leads to legislation being enacted.

In it, he will call for cross-party support against the use of the nuclear convoys, which travel between Berkshire, where the weapons are made and serviced, and Coulport in Argyll, where they are stored and loaded.

The MP pointed out that, according to information from campaign group Nukewatch, a convoy carrying nuclear weapons has travelled across Midlothian on several occasions, parking close to schools and sparking local outrage.

“The idea that weapons of mass destruction are being transported through the streets of Midlothian and all across the UK is absolutely chilling,” declared Mr Thompson.

“I’m calling on MPs of all parties to join me in condemning the unacceptable risk to public safety,” he said, noting how the impact of any safety breach simply did not bear thinking about.

“The Ministry of Defence must now detail exactly what safety precautions they take while these nuclear weapons travel through the UK and put an immediate stop to the convoys.”

He went on: “The Scottish people have made clear their opposition to weapons of mass destruction being based on the Clyde and the transport of nuclear weapons from one end of the country to the other should not be based on an argument of convenience at the expense of safety.”

Mr Thompson said the transportation policy as it stood lacked transparency, was counterproductive against protecting people from terrorist attacks and showed a blatant disregard and lack of judgement to the communities through which they passed.

He added: “Of course, the fact is that the only way to fully guarantee public safety is to remove these immoral, strategically useless weapons once and for all and the SNP will continue to fight every step of the way against spending £167 billion on weapons of mass destruction.”

In addition to the 110-minuterule motion, the MP has also lodged an early day motion, raising the same concerns and calling for an end to nuclear weapons convoys.

From Commonspace:

THE TRANSPORTATION of nuclear weapons through densely populated areas will be debated in Westminster today [20 January] after an SNP MP secured a Ten Minute Motion on the issue.

SNP Member of Parliament Owen Thompson has put forward a motion in the House of Commons to restrict the transportation of nuclear warheads and MPs will debate the issue following Prime Minister’s questions.

The motion states: “That leave be given to make provision for controls on the transportation of nuclear weapons.”

The short debate will be symbolic unless Thompson can secure enough support to bring a Private Member’s Bill forward.

Nuclear weapons are regularly transported across the UK, from the production factory in Berkshire to the storage facility Coulport, in Argyll. A Sunday Herald investigation in August 2014 revealed a series of 70 safety lapses with the convoy, including overheating brakes and leaking fuel.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Thompson is quoted in The Herald as saying: “The idea that weapons of mass destruction are being transported through the streets of Midlothian and all across the UK is absolutely chilling.”

“I’m calling on MPs of all parties to join me in condemning the unacceptable risk to public safety.

“The Ministry of Defence must now detail exactly what safety precautions they take while these nuclear weapons travel through the UK and put an immediate stop to the convoys.”

Concerns about the convoys have been raised for many years by campaigners and politicians, but resurfaced recently when the convoy was seen passing through Glasgow and crossing the Erskine Bridge despite severe gales and weather warnings, in January 2016.

From the Edinburgh Evening News:

MIDLOTHIAN SNP MP Owen Thompson will today launch a Commons bid to ban convoys of nuclear weapons travelling through towns and cities.

The move follows reports of at least two incidents when convoys were spotted near Penicuik, including one when the weapons were parked just yards from two schools.

Mr Thompson said he had serious concerns about the safety of driving nuclear weapons on long journeys on public roads and in highly populated areas.

He has tabled a motion at Westminster condemning the “unacceptable risk to public safety” and is to propose a Ten Minute Rule Bill this afternoon seeking to restrict the transportation of the weapons.

He said: “The idea that weapons of mass destruction are being transported through the streets of Midlothian, and all across the UK is absolutely chilling.

“One weekday lunchtime last May, a convoy was parked at Glencorse barracks for a break. It was off the road, but the barracks are next door to Beeslack High School and across the road from Mauricewood Primary School. So you can imagine pupils playing in the school grounds and just over the fence are these weapons of mass destruction.”

The convoys – tracked by campaign group Nukewatch – travel between Berkshire, where the weapons are made and serviced, and Coulport in Argyll, where they are stored and loaded.

Mr Thompson said they typically consisted of 15 or 20 vehicles in total, including extra security, and they varied their route but he claimed the risk was still “far too high”.

“The potential for an accident is huge,” he said. “The Ministry of Defence says it has an unblemished safety record, but that does not take account of the many near misses. They have breakdowns, there are pictures of them having to change tyres at the roadside and the normal things that happen to vehicles.

“When you think of what they are carrying it’s unbelievable they are on the roads.

“I’m calling on MPs of all parties to join me in condemning the unacceptable risk to public safety.

“The impact of any safety breach simply does not bear thinking about. The Ministry of Defence must now detail exactly what safety precautions they take while these nuclear weapons travel through the UK – and put an immediate stop to the convoys.”

Ten Minute Rule Bills offer MPs the chance to raise an issue of concern in the Commons chamber, but they often do not proceed much further.

Mr Thompson has also lodged an Early Day Motion, condemning the risk to public safety, calling on the UK government to clarify what safety measures they have in place and urging a stop to the convoys.

He said: “In Scotland, people have made clear our opposition to weapons of mass destruction being based on the Clyde – and the transport of nuclear weapons from one end of the country to the other should not be based on an argument of convenience at the expense of safety.

“The policy as it stands lacks transparency, is counterproductive against protecting us from terrorist attacks and shows a blatant disregard to the communities that they pass through.

“Of course, the only way to fully guarantee public safety is to remove these immoral, strategically useless weapons once and for all.”

January 2016

As we begin the New Year, it’s time for an update to this site.  2015 was a spectacular year for the SNP and one of great successes and challenges for me.  From being elected to Parliament in May it’s been a rollercoaster, but while it’s been tough, it’s also been hugely enjoyable.

So far I’ve participated in 130 votes, contributed to 21 debates, and submitted 30 written questions.  I was delighted to take the SNP lead on the Psychoactive Substances Bill committee and to watch the progress of this bill closely.  I’ve also contributed to debates on TTIP, the Scotland Bill and the Trade Union Bill amongst others.

Perhaps the most difficult decision so far has been the debate on whether the UK should participate in air strikes on Syria.  I remain deeply disappointed by the outcome of this vote and think the decision will prove to be a mistake.  Air strikes with no follow-up plan will do little to help those who need hep or to bring stability to the country.

As I look ahead to 2016, I have no doubt this will be yet another very interesting year, both at Westminster and in Scotland as we approach the Scottish Parliament Elections in May.  It’s likely we will also get more detail on the proposed EU Referendum as this year progresses.

Election 2015

What an amazing week for getting our strong team for SNP Midlothian out and about! We’ve had leaflet deliveries, canvassing, street stalls and spoken to hundreds of people personally.

Thanks so much to everyone that’s taken part already and those helping to run the events, here’s a recap of all the hard work put in!

We’ll no doubt have another busy week of spreading the word about why it’s so important Midlothian residents #VoteSNP – if you’re planning your own activity let us know, we’d love to know what you’re planning!

On Tuesday evening I’ll be out canvassing in Newtongrange and Roslin Thursday – why not come along and meet the team, join in and have some fun

Any questions, queries or leaflet requests email us on campaign@OwenThompson.Scot or drop me a message here!

Yours for Scotland

Owen

#Owen4Mid #GE2015 #VoteSNP #StrongerMidlothian

Selected as the 2015 General Election Candidate for Midlothian

I am pleased to announce that following the Midlothian SNP ballot I have been selected as the General Election 2015 candidate for Midlothian!! I am both thrilled and humbled to have been selected to fight for Midlothian, its people and its community in the upcoming election and I intend to win, and continue my proud track record of representing Midlothian.

The selection campaign has been a fantastic experience, and I am incredibly proud to have stood on a platform with such a high calibre of candidates – I wish John, Andrew, Colin and Ash all the very best, I’d like to thank them for their incredible passion and commitment and look forward to continue working with them on the future of Scotland.

As we now move into the final stages of the General Election campaign and with May only just around the corner I intend to get moving quickly with the campaign – to engage all members of all parties across Midlothian and those who belong to none. If you would like to be part of what will undoubtedly be a historical campaign for Midlothian please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Endorsement from Alex Salmond

As voting is well under way now in the Midlothian SNP Candidate selection process, I have been encouraged by some very kind words from former First Minister Alex Salmond MSP.

Mr Salmond said:

“Having known Owen since I first campaigned with him in his by-election in 2005, I have always thought he would make an excellent parliamentarian and would do very well in the House of Commons.”

Candidate Selection

I am delighted to announce that I have accepted the nomination of the Bonnyrigg and Loanhead Branch of the SNP to be a candidate for next year’s Westminster Election.

I expect there to be an internal SNP selection contest but feel now is the time for me to put my experience to the fore and take on this challenge.

Having been a Councillor in Midlothian for the last 9 years, I have had the opportunity to work in and across many of the communities of Midlothian and know well the issues that we face.

As an SNP MP, I would work hard with fellow SNP MP colleagues to secure delivery of the powers outlined in the Smith Commission report, and to continue to argue for further devolution of powers, as Smith didn’t even come close to meeting the aspirations of those who were seeking ‘Devo Max’

A strong SNP voice at Westminster in the next Parliament will ensure Scotland gets the best possible deal. I feel I offer a strong voice that would stand up for Midlothian and make sure our community is heard.