Lothian Green MSPs’ report – February 2019

Alison Johnstone MSP & Andy Wightman MSP

This is a report to you, our Party colleagues, focusing on our work as MSPs in recent weeks.

To keep up with our work from day-to-day, you can follow us via our social media pages, and the Party website:

Twitter: @alisonjohnstone and @andywightman
Facebook: @Alison.Johnstone.Green and @AndyWightmanMSP
SGP website greens.scot: Alison’s page and Andy’s page.


  • Andy wrote in the Scotland on Sunday, on how the Green budget deal paves the way for strengthened local democracy, and why Holyrood needs a new budget process so that outrage and rhetoric give way to the collaborative endeavour voters deserve. Here. Further information about the Green budget deal is here.
  • Alison won support for her amendments to the Scottish Government’s Health and Care Staffing Bill, to give senior charge nurses time to fulfil their clinical leadership role, giving staff time for continuing professional development, and placing a duty on Scottish Ministers to ensure enough student places to support the workforce. Here.
  • Andy and Alison wrote to the Home Secretary urging him to halt the threatened deportation of grandparents who play a critical role in their grandson’s care. A shocking case arising from Theresa May’s hostile environment. Here.
  • Andy appeared on Scotland Tonight to discuss the powers secured by the Greens in the Scottish Budget for Councils to introduce a workplace parking levy if they choose to do so. Watch from 6.18 here. Andy also raised the issue in FMQs here.
  • In a Social Security Committee session looking at the Scottish Budget, Alison raised concerns that in Glasgow, for example, funding allocated to the City Council for the Scottish Welfare Fund is not meeting demand. She also highlighted the key asks of the Child Poverty Action Group’s Give Me 5 campaign to top up child benefit. Here.
  • Andy asked the Scottish Government to publish Notices covering no-deal Brexit planning in devolved areas. The BBC has seen such papers, but MSPs and the public have not. Here.
  • Andy also took part in a ‘Rally for Europe’ event at the end of January, where he and fellow panellists answered questions about the coming days and weeks in Westminster, and the campaign for a People’s Vote.
  • Alison spoke at the demonstration in Edinburgh in support of the Stansted 15 ahead of their sentencing. The Aviation and Maritime Security Act was used to charge 15 peaceful protesters, whose action was aimed at saving the lives of 57 people being deported. A shocking example of the UK government’s hostile environment in action. Here.
  • Andy spoke in the debate on City Deals and Regional Economic Partnerships, highlighting that in Lothian, we will see £120 million being ploughed into upgrading the Sheriffhall roundabout, while just one sixth of that figure will be spent on public transport improvements in the west of Edinburgh. Here.
  • In Alison’s speech for Members’ Business debate on Cervical Screening Uptake Statistics, she raised concerns that the Lothian region has the second lowest uptake rate in the country for the smear test. Here.
  • In response to a Ministerial Statement regarding the ongoing closure of St John’s Paediatric Services, Alison asked whether the lessons of St John’s will help inform the legislation currently going through Parliament with regards to healthcare staffing in Scotland. Here.
  • Andy’s work on Short Term Lets was covered in various press outlets, with questions arising over the legality of the proliferation of key safe deposit boxes. Article here, and report here.
  • Alison Highlighted that loneliness is a public health problem in a debate on the Scottish Government’s Strategy for Tackling Social Isolation and Loneliness. Here.
  • In the Ministerial Statement on clinical waste services, Alison asked the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman MSP, about the frequency of SEPA’s inspections up to the point at which the situation became critical, and Healthcare Environmental Services Ltd ceased its business operations in December. Here.
  • Andy’s Local Government and Communities Committee published its Stage 1 report on the Fuel Poverty Bill. Here.
  • Alison spoke in the debate to mark World Cancer Day 2019, where she highlighted the importance of supporting people to be physically active, both as a preventative measure, and to aid recovery. Here.
  • Alison asked for Health Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, to re-examine guidance on pregabalin, with medical experts and drugs workers raising concerns about the numbers of deaths believed to be associated with the drug. Here.
  • Andy asked the Scottish Government how many proceedings have been raised against Scottish limited partnerships for failure to comply with regulations, and how many convictions there have been. According to reports, just over 2,700 of the 18,000 active SLPs had not submitted any information as of 10/12/18. Here.
  • Alison joined the College Lecturers Strike Day Rally at Holyrood, where Ross Greer spoke on behalf of the Greens.
  • Alison restated her support for the campaign to ban the use of electric shock dog collars in Scotland, at an event with Dogs Trust and other organisations providing information about these, and other aversive training devices.
  • Andy chaired a joint meeting of the Housing and Older People, Age & Ageing Cross Party Groups, discussing the future of housing.
  • Alison hosted a briefing event for the Children’s Future Food Inquiry, initiated to hear directly from children, young people and those who live and work with them about children’s experiences of food insecurity and food poverty, and how it affects their lives.
  • Alison joined campaigners supported by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, as they handed in a petition signed by over 4,000 people, calling for the Scottish Government to bring back thrombectomy – a highly specialised procedure suitable for around one in ten people after an acute ischaemic stroke.
  • Andy’s Economy Committee are running an inquiry into business support. It is anticipated that the report into this work will be published soon. Here. Economy Committee has also initiated an inquiry into Scotland’s construction sector, which will run for the next few months. Here.
  • Alison joined women MPs from Lebanon, on a visit to Holyrood to discuss efforts to increase the representation of women in public life. Here.
  • Alison spoke in the debate to recognise the work of the Scottish Powerchair Football Association (SPFA), commending the impressive development of the sport, discussing the barriers to further growth, and the need to ensure that all Scots who want to try out this or any sport are able to do so. Here.

Download the report as PDF