Lothian Green MSPs’ report – March 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.


  • In Alison’s first session of FMQs as co-leader of the Green parliamentary group, she asked the First Minister to join organisations such as NHS Health Scotland and the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health in backing Mark Ruskell’s 20 mph Bill. View video on Facebook.
  • Andy led a debate asking Who Owns Scotland? Andy renewed his call for open land registry at Holyrood, to address lack of transparency in land use, value and ownership. View article on CommonSpace.
  • Alison and Andy wrote to education bosses at Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian Councils, urging them to follow the example set by Edinburgh, thanks to Green Councillor Mary Campbell, and support – not punish – young people who choose to strike from school to highlight the urgent need for climate action. View article on The Herald.
  • Andy spoke at a cross party ‘Scotland for a People’s Vote’ event in Edinburgh. View article on The Herald.
  • Alison secured Holyrood’s support for the Green amendment to the Scottish Government fair work debate, welcoming progress and calling on Ministers to take fair work and environmental factors into account in funding decisions, and to publish details of progress being made. View Alison’s post on Facebook.
  • Alison also called on the Scottish Government to put fair work at the heart of Scotland’s social care sector, by accepting in full the recommendations of The Fair Work Convention’s review. View article on greens.scot.
  • Then, Alison spoke out following revelations that NHS Scotland’s procurement agency has been buying surgical gloves made in factories in Sri Lanka and Malaysiawhere forced labour, long hours and “union-busting” have been reported. View article on The Ferret.
  • Andy’s Economy and Fair Work Committee heard from a number of apprentices who highlighted their experiences of working in the construction industry, where Andy asked what support was available for pupils interested in pursuing their career interests. View article on the Press and Journal.
  • Alison responded to the Scottish Government’s most detailed statement to date on the future of disability benefit payments in Scotland, in which they have strongly committed to Green proposals for reducing face-to-face assessments to the “minimal possible level”. View video on Facebook.
  • Andy highlighted his efforts to protect communities from the uncontrolled growth of Short Term Lets, following a bizarre attempt by Airbnb to ‘love bomb’ MSPs, whereby their email appeared to suggest that significant numbers of their hosts are operating illegal mini-hotels. View article on The Drum.
  • Alison wrote for The National Newspaper about the work that went into developing Scotland’s new social security system, and the opportunity it offers to create a fairer society. View article in The National.
  • Andy responded to the Scottish Government’s new strategy for tackling fuel poverty, highlighting its lack of ambition, and suggesting the target to reduce the number of households in fuel poverty to 5 per cent could possibly be achieved by 2032 instead of 2040. View article in The Scotsman.
  • Alison welcomed a “crucially important” report highlighting the difficulties faced by people with mental health conditions accessing social security support, and called on Scottish and UK social security ministers to act upon the findings. View article on Scottish Housing News.
  • Alison also asked the Scottish Government how it will minimise erroneous underpayment of devolved social security assistance. View video on Facebook.
  • Andy visited local campaigners in Dalkeith, to see for himself the problems caused by pollution entering the Mary Burn and further afield. View MAEDT Twitter post.
  • Andy and Alison attended the Scottish Raptor Study Group conference, where they heard about the latest developments in the field of raptor research and conservation, and discussed ongoing threats to Scottish raptors. View Raptor Persecution Scotland article.
  • Alison wrote in the National about how the Green MSPs are leading the change in Holyrood, by working to make Scotland the best country for children to grow up in. View The National article.
  • Andy raised the issue of ‘land banking’ in Economy Committee. View the Press and Journal article.
  • Given the pressure on those who work in the NHS, Alison asked the Cabinet Secretary for Health what assurances can be provided that staff will have sufficient time for expert training and mentoring, in order to ensure patient safety. View video on Facebook.
  • Alison stated her support for those taking action in London, calling on the Secretary of State to make sure abortion care is available to those in Northern Ireland who need it. View post on Twitter.
  • After writing to the Home Secretary, urging him to halt the threatened deportation of grandparentswho play a critical role in their grandson’s care, Andy and Alison were delighted to hear from the Saberi family that Mozaffar Saberi and Rezvan Habibimarand will not be deported. View the Press and Journal article.
  • Andy responded to reports of the Queen lodging an appeal against a business rates increase at her Balmoral estate, saying that “bringing shooting estates into non-domestic rates is about fairness and it’s no surprise landowners are seeking to pay as little as possible”. View The National article.
  • Alison was quoted in a Herald story about cancer-causing meat being served to hospital patients. View The Herald article.
  • Alison asked the Cabinet Secretary for Health to confirm whether full mesh removal is available in Scotland, how much evidence of removal people receive, and also to confirm that any barriers there might be to learning from St Louis-based obstetrician-gynaecologist, Dr Dionysios Veronikis, can and will be removed. View video on Facebook.
  • Andy met Rosewell Development Trust’s Kids World Citizen Group, as they conducted research into various countries in the world, and designed posters on their chosen country. View RDT Twitter post.
  • In Alison’s speech during the Carers’ Allowance Supplement debate, she made the point that Scotland’s unpaid carers save the economy around £10.8bn annually, and there remains a vast mismatch between the value of care, and the support that carers receive. View video on Facebook.
  • Edinburgh College welcomed Andy and fellow Economy Committee members to their Granton Campus to discuss apprenticeship opportunities at the College. Members of the committee toured facilities and had a chat with a number of apprentices. View Edinburgh College Twitter post.
  • Alison repeated her call for an end to the indiscriminate slaughter of mountain hares in Scotland (view article on greens.scot), and once again joined protesters calling for an end to the long-distance transport of live animals to Europe (view Alison’s post on Facebook).
  • Alison wrote in the Evening News about Scotland’s lack of progress to deliver transport infrastructure that cuts emissions, improves public health, and meets the needs of our communities. View article on greens.scot.
  • Alison spoke in the debate on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill, and highlighted the need to increase the number of organs being donated. View video on Facebook.

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