THE turmoil continues for the UK Government with the news upon arrival in Westminster that the ex-Prime Minister David Cameron has hastily been made a Lord and will now become the Foreign Secretary. As always in these circumstances my sympathy is with the civil servants who hold the show together from behind the scenes as egos, ambitions and self-entitlement come crashing together in an orgy of public name calling and misplaced justification.

Sanity was restored when I met with the extremely grounded Mikael Sodergren MBChB, DIC, PhD, FRCS who is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College London and Consultant Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. We met to discuss the future of medical cannabis in the UK. There are a number people working very hard to create a legal supply of cannabis that is grown for the purpose of producing ethical medicines that can treat a range of conditions.

My role is to network with all of those involved and hopefully put them together so the experts in growing, research, treatment and the law can all work together to create a solution.


MY select committee met to perform our annual appraisal of the public health ombudsman. It’s particularly relevant this year as the ombudsman is stepping down and we will be appointing his successor. I focused on the lack of support for the WASPI campaign - women who were robbed of their pension and have not been treated fairly in their quest for justice. It’s fair to say that I don’t think the ombudsman has fulfilled its role in this matter. I would like to thank the many women who have written to me on this matter not just this week but over the years.

I attended a reception for medical cannabis for children with intractable epilepsy which was run by parents and clinicians. Interestingly, it was in the House of Lords and is an indicator of the support in both chambers for provision of these medicines.


THERE is a great deal of suspicion amongst many people who want to grow their own cannabis that big pharma is controlling access to the research and development of medical cannabis.

I believe they are partially correct.

To address this issue, it’s important that those of us who simply want to provide free medicine to those that need it don’t become too idealistic, and because of that opportunities are ignored. The overwhelming priority must be to develop the crop and research and if that takes private money then so be it. It’s not my ideal solution but if the UK government continues to pay little attention to the potential, then someone has to do it for them.

This is a long-winded way of saying I sat down with the money men who want to raise funds from the stock exchange to help companies in the cannabis marketplace. Currently companies can, and do, have their bank accounts frozen if they are associated with the industry. They are penalised under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Having their accounts frozen effectively shuts their business down. We need to improve this legislation without giving criminals loopholes to exploit.

My select committee met for the second time this week and we hosted representatives from UK overseas territories. They number 14 in total and have populations from under 100 to over 65,000. Some representatives expressed the view they are not respected by the UK government and are not consulted in the correct manner on issues that directly affect them.

I couldn't help but hear the similarities between the views of the devolved powers in Wales and Scotland, but at least we are not referred to as territories, which is one above being called a colony.

The main business of the day in the chamber was the last day of the King’s speech. It is always a debate that gives MPs freedom to wander off into topics that are maybe not specific to the speech, but with a degree of restraint this is allowed.

The SNP used this to bring an amendment to the speech that called for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. It is obviously a difficult subject and it’s not a new one. The recent atrocities carried out by Hamas and the retribution from the Israeli state have resulted in the death of thousands of innocent men women and children.

If we are to stop future generations continuing to massacre each other we need a two-state solution and in the short term we need a ceasefire. The SNP amendment was the only one that called for a ceasefire. It was backed by 125 MPs and I am grateful to the members from the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Green Party, Alba, SDP, Alliance and independents who voted with us.

Not one Conservative voted for the ceasefire and I think that is shameful.


Because of last night’s late vote I am still in London. I caught up on events local, national and global.


I visited the Yorkshire Building Society to meet with local staff and hear about how the branch is supporting the local community during the cost-of-living crisis, through their innovative partnership with Citizens Advice.

I attended the Inverclyde Bereavement Network meeting at IRH to mark Childhood Bereavement Awareness Week. This is a chance for charities and organisations all over Scotland to meet and discuss what action they are taking, along with potential ideas for the future. This network meets every few months, but today’s meeting was tailored to childhood grief.