The work of the Energy Select Committee turned its attention last week to the building of a new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point in the West Country. It remains to be seen whether this is ever actually built as despite several false starts the French company that is supposed to be building it has still to make a final investment decision. The proceedings of the committee can be seen here.
Commemoration of the Battle of Jutland Debate
After the Coastguard meeting in Edinburgh it was back to Westminster for votes on the Queen's Speech (which I made with a full six minutes to spare – thank you Flybe!). The end of day debate that evening was a short but well-attended debate on the commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.
You can read the Hansard of the debate here.
I have also tabled a parliamentary motion on the same subject and you can find that here.
Human Rights At Home and Abroad
On Thursday I had a question to the Foreign Office about the record of the Egyptian Government in Human Rights. This is an issue that I raised with them when the UK hosted a visit from the Egyptian President last year and I returned again to the case of Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish National supported by the human rights campaigners at Reprieve. You can read the exchange here.
Another campaign in which I have been working with Reprieve is on the banning of sales of pharmaceuticals to governments in the USA for use on death row and this week I met the UK Chief Executive of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, a company that has produced medicines which have been used in the past for executions in the United States.
In the meeting, Hikma confirmed that they are trying to close down any loopholes and reviewing all their contracts.
Emergency Towing Vessel Meeting in Edinburgh
The campaign to retain an emergency tug in the Northern Isles made a significant piece of progress last week when the Coastguard Agency produced their updated risk assessment. I had been critical of their last risk assessment for lacking detail and for being done in house rather than given to somebody independent of the Agency (even if it did conclude that removing the tug would expose us to risk!)
The new risk assessment was produced at the third meeting of the Emergency Towing Vessels Interested Parties group in Edinburgh. Being there and back in a day meant another 5.30am start but for once it really felt like it was worth it! This new risk assessment will now form the basis of the submission to the shipping minister so, while we are not out of the woods yet, there is more hope than there has been previously.