You will have seen it reported in the press and media this morning that Liberal Democrat MPs will support the motion in the House of Commons today to extend to areas of Syria our current military involvement against ISIL/Da’esh in Iraq. I want to explain why, after lengthy discussion and deliberation, we have reached this decision and why I will support it.
Black Friday is a new concept in Scotland and what a bonanza- with bargains to be had in most shops as the starting gun is fired on the Christmas shopping season. It's new to us but Americans have been at it for ages and it has come to represent a key fixture in the Thanksgiving Holiday calendar.
However, Black Friday means something altogether different if you are wintering on the Syria trail this festive season. In fact, it's fair to say that most days are pretty colourless if you face the prospect of suffering another night in a field somewhere in Eastern Europe waiting for papers or transport to the next stop on your journey. In the summer, it might just have been tolerable, but with the harsh continental winter fast approaching- grim nights in open fields could, with few degrees drop in Celsius, become fatal nights in open fields.
This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer stood in the House of Commons and set out his spending plans for the next 5 years.
The headlines were full of his decision to scrap tax credit cuts that would have hit 250,000 families in Scotland. I am proud that Lib Dems in the House of Lords helped force George Osborne to change his mind and scrap his damaging plans.
Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb also deserves real praise for helping secure £600 million to improve mental health services in England. At First Minister’s Questions this week, I urged Nicola Sturgeon to ensure that the extra money that Scotland will receive as a result of this decision is ring-fenced for mental health services in Scotland. The need for investment is just as pressing north of the border.