Tag Archives: Mike Weir

Busier Sheriff Court in Angus Closed by SNP #SNPFail

Figures revealed yesterday have shown that the SNP Government chose to close the busier of the Sheriff’s Courts in Angus. This was despite there being over £100 million unspent in the last year for Justice and the Procurator Fiscal Service. 

Angus Lib Dems strongly objected to the closure of Arbroath Sheriff Court and the figures reveal that the court was heavily used.  Forcing witnesses and victims to travel long distances will undermine the effectiveness of the justice system in Angus.

SNP representatives for Angus, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Day MSP seem to have little or no influence on their SNP colleagues making decisions centrally in Holyrood.

It is now clear that closing yet another service in Angus was a big mistake by the SNP.

Click here for the full article in The Courier which gives the following figures:

Between April 2012 to the end of March last year, prisoner journeys to Arbroath totalled 2,568, compared to Forfar’s 991.

Dundee received 5,262 prisoner movements in 2012/13, 5,284 in 2013/14 and 3,588 between April and November last year.

In the same periods, other sheriff courts received the following number of individual prisoner transport journeys:

  • Arbroath (closed in May) — 1,163, 1,405, 255
  • Forfar — 504, 487, 928

Scottish Government Underspend a body blow for Angus investment

Angus Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily to news that the SNP Government has left £444 million unspent last year, despite closing key services across Angus and failing to invest in local infrastructure.

Accounts have emerged showing that the Scottish Government has underspent:

  • £92 million on Justice
  • £10 million on the Procurator Fiscal Service
  • £102 million on Infrastructure
  • A whopping £165 million on Education
Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Lib Dem Campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani said,

“The SNP have been steadily closing down services in Angus. They have closed Sheriff’s Courts, Police Counters, Noranside Prison and Angus College. They have failed to build a flyover at Laurencekirk that we desperately need to protect drivers. Yet in all these departments there was plenty of money left to be spent.”

“Meanwhile our SNP elected representatives, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Dey MSP, have done absolutely nothing to stop the closure of key Angus services by their SNP colleagues in Edinburgh. This has cost Angus jobs, made it harder for students to study, left Laurencekirk junction unsafe and had a negative impact on our local economy.”

“The SNP have blamed all the cuts on Angus services on Westminster, and yet they had close to half a billion pounds left to invest.”

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“As an ex-teacher and head master, I am appalled to see £165 million go unspent on Education. The merger of Angus College with Dundee and loss of hundreds of college places has had a huge impact on our young people, just trying to get on in life.”

“In Montrose we have a major issue with parking on double yellow lines that are not being policed due to SNP cuts, that they have blamed on Westminster, despite having £92 million left over.”

“Sanjay and I have backed Jill Fotheringham’s campaign for a flyover at Laurencekirk for many years. The news that on Infrastructure £102 million was left unspent will be a body blow for those desperate to see safety at the junction improved.”

Sanjay Samani concluded,

“We have an SNP MP and two SNP MSPs who have badly failed Angus residents. This year they will blame cuts on Westminster to gain votes at the General Election. Then we will see a big spending spree in the run up to Scottish Elections in 2016 and they will try to claim the credit.”

“The SNP need to stop playing politics and start investing in Angus.”

Labour Hypocrisy on Lobbying

In the wake of the Adam Werritty scandal surrounding Liam Fox MP, the Labour party are apparently demanding a lobbying register.  It might surprise you to know that such a bill was introduced to the House of Commons by the Lib Dems in 2006 and it was voted down by 284 Labour MP’s.

You will be pleased to know that just such a register is in the Coalition agreements from 2010, as demanded by the Lib Dems.

Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Cabinent Office minister said:

“David Cameron has still not introduced the compulsory register of lobbyists he promised.

“In the wake of the Adam Werritty and Atlantic Bridge activities it is now essential we have greater transparency.

“The government should bring forward as a matter of urgency plans for a compulsory register of lobbyists with records being kept of meetings between lobbyists and ministers.”

Read the full article on the BBC by clicking here.

Every Lib Dem member, supporter and MP agrees.  Which is why we have been calling for regulation of lobbying for years.  In fact we introduced a bill to the House of Commons calling for a reporting of corporate expenditure on lobbying and putting a cap on their lobbying expenditure.

Remember, this is all before the Stephen Byers “Cab For Hire” incident.

Any guesses for Labour MP’s who voted against the motion?  You guessed it Ed Milliband, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, and one Gareth Thomas.

Also of note, the Conservatives did not bother to vote.  And 5 of the 6 SNP MPs also voted against the Lib Dem bill, including Angus MP, Mike Weir.

You can see full details of the Bill and all those MPs who voted against it by clicking here.

Image courtesy of BBC

Image from BBC.

Mike Weir admits Angus is three horse race

Montrose Academy held a mock election on Friday, run magnificently by Ian Watt. It was great to see Sean Massie, the Liberal Democrat candidate win the mock election. Congratulation to Sean and his class who ran an excellent campaign. I’ve had to ask Sean for a copy of his stump speech, as it included some key points I hope to use.

I really appreciated being invited to attend a hustings after the vote, between the Angus parliamentary candidates. During the discussion, Angus SNP candidate, Mike Weir admitted that there are three parties whose candidate could be elected, saying:

Whoever gets elected whether it is the SNP, the Tories or the Lib Dems,…

Conspicuously absent was any mention of the Labour candidate, Kevin Hutchens. Clearly, Mike has recognised that people in Angus are looking at all the main options available to them.

The national campaign shows this will not be just a once in a lifetime election. It will be a unique opportunity to sweep away the two old parties’ grip on power. They have and will do anything to stop things really changing.

It is no longer a two horse race nationally, nor is it here in Angus. Residents do not have to pick the least worst option.

When choosing between myself, Mike Weir and Alberto Costa, Angus residents now realise that by voting for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, by voting for me, Sanjay Samani, their vote will count and their voice will be heard.

Ugly Donatations and Expenses Spat continues in Angus

I was really disappointed to read two new articles on the ongoing ugly spat over donations and expenses between Mike Weir and Alberto Costa. Angus residents really do deserve better from their prospective representatives.

I highlighted how this spat has become national news in my previous post, which you can read by clicking here. The whole sordid affair reflects badly on Angus and I had hoped that the matter would end there. Unfortunately the argument has continued to rumble on.

Firstly The Daily Record highlights how Alberto Costa’s campaign received £10,000 from Swiss banker, Henry Angest, funnelled through a City company called Flowidea Ltd. You can read the article in full by clicking here.

Then Alberto Costa hit back, accusing Mike Weir of accepting a £4,000 donation from someone who he is running a campaign for taxes on holiday lets. You can read the full article in the Press and Journal by clicking here.

The merits of the accusations and counter accusations aside, there is clearly a need for our politics to be cleaned up.

In my previous blog post and in an open letter to all the other candidates, I called on them to give cross party support to full political reform, rather than nips and tucks or little tweaks here and there, asking:

Will the other candidates back proposals for a fairer political system, including the right of Angus residents to recall their MP, to cap donations to political parties, independent auditing of expenses and limits on spending by political parties? Crucially will they back a written constitution that clearly sets out the role and powers of MPs, ministers, judges, the Head of State, parliament and national assemblies?

On a separate issue, will the candidates back proposals for a fairer, proportional voting system, as used in Angus Council elections? Mike Weir was elected as MP for Angus, with just over 1 out of 5 of those eligible actually voting for him and very nearly 2/3rds of actual voters, voting against him. Surely the Angus MP needs to have a better mandate than that?

The letter has appeared in all the Angus local newspapers and I have yet to hear a response from any of the other candidates. This is hardly a surprise as Labour, SNP and Conservative MPs, including Mike Weir, have all voted in the past against proposals by the Liberal Democrats to clean up politics. It is little wonder that Nick Clegg described the last session as “the most corrupt parliament in history”.

I make my call again:

I would ask for full backing from Mike Weir MP, Kevin Hutchens and Alberto Costa. Angus residents can that way be assured, that whether it is myself or one of the other candidates that is elected at the forthcoming election, they will be voting for genuine, open, fairer political reform.

Will the other candidates back full, genuine, fair political reform to create a functioning, responsive, clean democracy in this country?

Genuine Political Reform needed after ugly public spat in Angus

I was very disappointed to see the ugly public spat over donations and expenses, over the last two weeks, between Mike Weir MP and Angus Tory candidate Alberto Costa. Angus residents deserve better from their prospective representatives. Now that their arguments have spilled over into the national press, including the BBC News website, is it not high time that Angus candidates agree how we can restore trust in our democracy?

With the recent lobbying scandal, I was particularly surprised to find that Mike Weir MP, voted in 2006 against a Lib Dem motion for limits and full disclosure for corporate lobbying. I would ask that he explain his stance on that motion, supported by the Conservatives, but defeated by Labour and SNP MPs.

The Tories have been talking about a “Broken Britain”, but it is clear to me that it is our politics that is broken. It is not enough to simply tinker with existing system, but we need a radical reform of our political institutions to ensure that the long succession of scandals under both Labour and the Tories, cannot be repeated.

Will the other candidates back proposals for a fairer political system, including the right of Angus residents to recall their MP, to cap donations to political parties, independent auditing of expenses and limits on spending by political parties? Crucially will they back a written constitution that clearly sets out the role and powers of MPs, ministers, judges, the Head of State, parliament and national assemblies?

On a separate issue, will the candidates back proposals for a fairer, proportional voting system, as used in Angus Council elections? Mike Weir was elected as MP for Angus, with just over 1 out of 5 of those eligible actually voting for him and very nearly 2/3rds of actual voters, voting against him. Surely the Angus MP needs to have a better mandate than that?

I am fully backing all of these proposals.

I would ask for full backing from Mike Weir MP, Kevin Hutchens and Alberto Costa. Angus residents can that way be assured, that whether it is myself or one of the other candidates that is elected at the forthcoming election, they will be voting for genuine, open, fairer political reform.