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2018

The Hollow Victory

Prime Minister Theresa May

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson
The Meaningful Vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal should have been the defining moment of her premiership, but after three days of the scheduled five days of debate in the House of Commons, and speeches from no less than 164 members of parliament, the government used a technical device to postpone the remainder of the debate. It was an act of political cowardice necessitated by a desperate misjudgement over the Prime Minister’s deal.

Given this Government’s record on keeping its promises, it remains to be seen if the debate is ever concluded, but for what it’s worth, the Government has guaranteed the debate and the vote on it will be revived before its own deadline of 21 January 2019. We’ll see. 

The whole episode was an absolute shambles, and the most compelling evidence yet that this government has lost all authority and credibility. But for as long as it stumbles on, it will be assailed and harangued from all sides, including its own, and will lurch from one crisis headlong into the next. 

That’s not to say there wasn’t logic to the Prime Minister’s decision to pull the vote on its penultimate day. She was facing a certain and catastrophic defeat, which would likely have been too much for her tenuous grip on the title of Prime Minister to bear, and the calculation that a shameful retreat was better than a career-ending defeat wasn’t difficult. The real puzzle is how she ever thought her deal had a snowball’s chance of passing given the implacable opposition on her own backbenches. 

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Motion To Parliament Demands New Site For Strathyre Mast

Bruce Crawford at Aberfoyle

Stirling SNP MSP Bruce Crawford has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament, demanding that a new site be found for a recently approved smart meter mast to be erected in Strathyre.
The planning application was recently approved by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, despite being faced with strong objections from local people.
Mr Crawford’s motion, which has been signed by a number of MSP colleagues, calls on the applicant, Arqiva, to “seriously consider an alternative location.”

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Leadership Vacuum and Westminster in Turmoil: Crawford Demands the People Have a Say

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has called for the people to be consulted on our future relationship with the European Union.

His call comes during a crisis of leadership in Westminster, with a meaningful vote on the Brexit Deal delayed, and the Prime Minister facing a leadership challenge.

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Coming Apart At The Seams

Westminster

By Steven Paterson, former MP for Stirling

“It’s a political crisis but not yet a constitutional crisis” was one of the comments from the talking heads on the wall to wall 24 hour news coverage in recent days, and maybe it was the inclusion of the word ‘yet’ signifying that there’s still much worse to come that made the comment stick with me.

Call this moment in our politics what you will but this is unprecedented and things cannot go on much longer as they have. Something has to give.

The opening day of the Meaningful Vote debate was remarkable, not least for the fact that Theresa May’s Government was knocked reeling before the debate even started as it earned the historic ignominy of being the first government in Westminster’s long history to earn the collective Contempt of Parliament, and be forced kicking and screaming to publish legal advice and comply with a vote some weeks ago which compelled it to do exactly this.

Then in a programme motion, an amendment from the erudite Tory remainer Dominic Grieve, wrested powers over how parliament proceeds in the aftermath of the expected defeat of the Government next week. This was a technical process issue, but it matters: if the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected by Parliament next week, the Government will not be able to decide exclusively what comes next, and any number of amendments can be made by MPs from across the parties represented. Parliament has taken back control – but from the Executive, not Brussels.

It was as if a few rounds of a boxing match had already taken place before the pugilists made it to the ring. The weary-looking Prime Minister who appeared at the despatch box immediately after the humbling of her government spoke for over an hour proposing her deal as the only way forward, in what was the first of forty hours of debate on the matter. Many speculated that the speech might be one of her last as Prime Minister, given how much rides on the upcoming votes and the huge hurdles that would need to be overcome for the Government to get past this.

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SNP Campaigns Against Rape Clause Coming to Stirling

Maureen Bennison and Alastair MacPherson

The SNP Group on Stirling Council is to begin campaigning locally against the rape clause coming to Stirling. 

The two child cap on child tax credits means that the Department for Work and Pensions will no longer support three or more children in a family. However, an exception is made when a woman has conceived a child through rape. 

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