Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on the government to follow up its judicial inquiry into the Horizon Post Office scandal with further efforts to support the long term success of local postmasters in rural and island communities. Speaking in an urgent parliamentary debate Mr Carmichael highlighted the damage done to the availability of postmasters by the scandal and the need to ensure the future of the network.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has reacted to news that the government had refused to rule out establishing an offshore migrant processing facility in the Scottish islands, calling the idea “disrespectful” to both islanders and those seeking asylum in the UK. The news follows reporting by the Financial Times that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, had sought to establish a similar facility on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has revealed inconsistent advice given by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for islanders seeking to book driving tests this autumn. Mr Carmichael highlighted confusion between DVSA claims that tests were available in October and the experience of many constituents who have continued to be unable to book tests in practice. Many Islanders who had tests booked in March and cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions were left in the dark for months.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has this week met with the Scottish Tourism Alliance to discuss a stronger economic response to the challenges faced by the hospitality industry as the pandemic continues.
The STA shared details of the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers survey last week which revealed that more than £70M will be lost within the sector before Christmas as a result of the recent announcements around single households, and highlighted concerns that the government may not make any further efforts to support the sector despite the impact of new restrictions in recent weeks.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out in the House of Commons ahead of a key vote this week on the coronavirus law brought into place in March. Mr Carmichael highlighted public frustration with inconsistent rules and the plight of many students in all parts of the UK who have faced confusing and harsh rules around their behaviour. Mr Carmichael also raised concerns about the centralised approach used by governments around the UK, leaving little scope for local authorities to determine rules that work for them.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today backed a cross-party motion calling on the government to ensure that UK supermarkets report their use of plastic packaging with targets to reduce its usage. The motion, backed by MPs from all major parties, highlights the environmental impact of plastic packaging, which contributes a large proportion of plastic pollution in the natural environment. The call comes at the end of the Great British Beach Clean 2020, in which people across the UK were encouraged to help pick up litter at their local beaches.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today welcomed new measures to support businesses and workers from the government, but warned that too many were still left behind. Highlighting the three million excluded from financial support since the start of the pandemic, Mr Carmichael called on the government to close the gaps and in particular to extend targeted support for the tourism and hospitality sectors which are vital for the Northern Isles.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has raised concerns in Parliament about a new report suggesting a 63% drop in UK food exports to the EU if there is no trade deal at the end of the year. Speaking in Parliament, Mr Carmichael highlighted the potential impact on small producers in the isles which have specialised in exports. The London School of Economics report raised a range of concerns for UK agriculture in the event of a no-deal outcome, due to increased trade barriers and tariffs in key markets.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, spoke out last night on the impact of the lawbreaking included in the government’s Internal Market Bill. Mr Carmichael noted the harm the Bill risked to Northern Ireland and drew comparisons to the unlawful invasion of Iraq, passed by Parliament in 2003.
Speaking last night in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“What we have seen tonight is chickens coming home to roost. Goodness only knows they were warned often enough. The Withdrawal Agreement was a political choice made by the Prime Minister to give Brexit precedence over the Northern Ireland peace agreement. This is a question that goes right to the very heart of the deal that was negotiated by the Prime Minister himself. We cannot enter into an agreement and then seek to repudiate it because the other party is doing what we have just agreed they are allowed to do.
“Whether it is Ministers in Downing Street or Members in this House who break the law, at the end of the day the United Kingdom will be judged and nobody will care who was ultimately responsible.
“In 2003 this House voted to go to war in Iraq, an action which again had little or no foundation in international law, and which was ultimately shown to be an unlawful act. Nobody cared that it was an act that had been authorised by this House and not just by Ministers in Downing Street.
“This is not, however, an isolated action from this Government. For a Government to act unlawfully once might be regarded as misfortune; to act unlawfully twice looks like carelessness.
“It is bad not just for our reputation as a player on the world stage, but it threatens the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom. The Conservatives and Unionists in government should understand that.”
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Northern Ireland, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out today ahead of a crucial debate on the government’s Internal Market Bill, warning that the plans put the UK’s future at risk. The Bill will break international law by reneging on the government’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, signed earlier this year, and key figures in the United States have already said that a vital trade deal will not be possible if the government moves ahead with the Bill.
Speaking before the debate, Mr Carmichael said:
“This Bill puts our country’s future at risk. Aside from ignoring the devolution settlement for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Boris Johnson is treating peace in Northern Ireland and the delicate settlement there as though it is a pinata. The government is taking whacks at the constitutional fabric of our country in the pursuit of a few extra bargaining chips.”
“Even so, the government has created a bill that manages to alienate not just our partners in the EU but also in the US. Political leaders in the United States – including presidential frontrunner Joe Biden – are already saying that they will not sign a trade deal with the UK if this bill goes ahead. It is hard to see who benefits from this mess but it is certainly not the people of Great Britain or Northern Ireland.”
“There are more important issues that we could be dealing with. With a second wave of coronavirus already in progress, however, the Tories are spending more time arguing amongst themselves than focusing on what matters.”