SNP MSP George Adam has written to Ruth Davidson demanding that she explains whether reports linking the Tories and Cambridge Analytica are accurate – and confirm whether and when the UK party has met the firm and if Cambridge Analytica or SCL have done work for the UK Conservative party.
After the First Minister listed a series of well publicised and unchallenged links between the Tories and the controversial firm, Ruth Davidson dismissed them as “allegations”. Mr Adam has now challenged the Tory leader to set out which if any of these reports she disputes and on what basis.
In addition – the Conservative party continue to fail to answer questions on whether the party has met or worked with Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL at any point – the same questions the SNP has already answered.
The now former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix told the Westminster Culture Committee in February that they had spoken with “every” political party in the UK, naming the Tories.
In a letter to Ms Davidson, Mr Adam wrote:
“At First Minister’s Questions, you dismissed links between Cambridge Analytica and your party as ‘allegations’.
“Cambridge Analytica have themselves confirmed that they have at least had conversations with the Conservative party – and we know that the UK government has given parent firm SCL public contracts.
“Given your apparently interest in transparency, can you tell me which if any of the following reports you dispute and the factual basis on which you dispute them and can you working with the Conservative party provide the answers to the questions about Conservative meetings with SCL and Cambridge Analytica that have so far gone unanswered.
“It is true that the UK government gave these contracts to SCL?
“Is it true that SCL Group was reportedly granted provisional ‘List X’ status by the Ministry of Defence granting access to secret documents until 2013?
“Is it true that SCL used to be run by a former chairman of Oxford Conservative Association?
“Is it true that SCL were founded by a former Tory MP, and that your party accepted over £700,000 in donations from an SCL director?
“Is it true that a Cambridge Analytica executive reportedly advised the Foreign Office on lessons gleaned from the Trump election?
“Do you agree that former Scottish Tory candidate and party vice-chairman Richard Cook who is the public face of the Constitutional Research Council, responsible for a £425,000 donation to the DUP’s Brexit campaign which was then partially spent on AggregateIQ, who are reportedly linked to Cambridge Analytica should reveal the source of this donation?
“And – crucially – is former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix correct to have stated in a letter in 2010 that he had worked with the UK Conservative party?
“When Alexander Nix told the Westminster Culture Committee in February that they had spoken with ‘every’ political party in the UK, was he correct to name the Conservatives as on party they had spoken with?
“During First Minister’s Questions you very carefully qualified your claim that your party hadn’t had any communication with Cambridge Analytica – referring only to the Scottish Tories, rather than the parent organisation.
“As you have demanded transparency from others, will you now confirm whether the UK Tories – and not just the Edinburgh office – have met with Cambridge Analytica?”
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson last week said that “Britain will leave the CFP as of March 2019”, while Michael Gove had previously said that there would be “a specific transition period for fishing of nine or 10 months”.
But the draft terms of the Brexit transition deal show the UK government has agreed to abide by CFP rules for the whole of the transition period, which ends in December 2020.
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation responded that “This falls far short of an acceptable deal”. They continued: “Put simply, we do not trust them to look after us.”
Commenting, George said:
“The Tories have sold out the fishing communities in Paisley and across Scotland once again – and Ruth Davidson should be shame-faced for her fastest broken Brexit promise yet.
“Just last week she said ‘Britain will leave the CFP as of March 2019’.
“Now we know not only will the UK have to abide by CFP rules during the transition period, it will lose the voting rights it has now. The Tories have delivered the worst possible outcome for Scotland’s fishing industry.
“The Tories have demonstrated once again that for them that communities like Paisley are expendable.
“They are so arrogant they now think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it.”
The SNP’s George Adam has warned that Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard is “unfit for opposition” following his repeated inaccuracies over what a hard Brexit entails for the country.
Speaking on today’s Good Morning Scotland, the Labour leader contradicted himself several times – at point one supporting single market membership before falsely claiming that leaving the European Union necessitates leaving the single market. He said:
- “The option of a Norway-style agreement is something that is not entirely ruled out. And I think the point of the, direction of debate that I’m leading it, is that we need to keep our options open.”
- “I don’t think actually you can have permanent membership of the single market because the UK is leaving the European Union.”
- “I don’t believe in a hard Brexit.”
A recent poll by Opinium found that 56% of potential Labour voters at the next election want the party to back permanent membership of the single market and customs union – however despite this, the Labour leadership has blocked a vote on the single market proposed by party members for this weekend’s party conference. Mr Leonard this morning appeared to dismiss the vote as something put forward by “half a dozen Labour parties.”
George Adam MSP said:
“This interview was so appalling it has to be heard to be believed.
“Richard Leonard came across as utterly clueless about the main issue facing the country – his rambling in defence of Labour’s support for the Tories’ Brexit plans was simply embarrassing.
“He then failed to show any leadership when it came to Labour’s bid to prop up the Tories at a local level in Aberdeen, or when it came to the race rows which have engulfed a senior Labour MP and councillor.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but no one is entitled to their own facts and with this shambles of a performance, Mr Leonard has proved once and for all that he is unfit for opposition, let alone for government.”
Cost Of A Hard Tory Brexit: £2,300 Loss Per Person.
New economic impact analysis by the Scottish Government has confirmed that the best way to protect the local economy and household incomes in Paisley is through Scotland remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union.
Failure by the Tory government to secure a Brexit deal would see Scotland take a £12.7 billion economic hit, equivalent to £2,300 per year for each person in Paisley. The analysis also shows that a ‘Canada-type’ deal with the EU, with limited access to the Single Market, would still leave people in Paisley £1,610 worse off per head.
Other key findings show that remaining in the Single Market could create new opportunities for the local economy in Paisley to flourish, and that continued freedom of movement is required to support economic growth. Local industries such as our NHS is dependent upon free movement. Figures show that EU citizens currently working in Paisley currently contribute an average of £10,400 in tax revenues.
Commenting, George Adam, Paisleys MSP said:
“The best way to protect the economy and jobs in Paisley is to ensure that Scotland remains within the European Single Market and Customs Union.
“This latest analysis by the Scottish Government shows just how important that is for people living in Paisley – who would be left £2,300 worse off in the result of a hard Brexit scenario that the Tories seem to be on course for.
“People in Paisley voted decisively to remain in the European Union. We’re almost two years on from the vote and they UK government has failed to provide certainty for businesses and our public services which rely on free trade and free movement with the rest of the EU.
“The decisions taken over the coming months will be absolutely vital for jobs and the future of the local economy in Paisley. Failing to back Scotland’s continued place in Europe would have serious consequences and would be an absolute tragedy for future generations.”
Musicians are very concerned that the Brexit process may lead to the introduction of individual member state work permits and/or visas for British musicians touring and working across Europe.
Most professional musicians and performers rely on touring and travelling for their careers and livelihoods and gigs are often organised at short notice.
As some performers can be working in several different European countries over the course of a few days, the possible introduction of work permissions and/or visas for British musicians touring and working in Europe could be extremely detrimental.
The Musicians’ Union launched its free movement campaign in Spring 2017.
Over 150 MSPs, MPs, Peers and MEPs have signed the pledge to do all they can to ensure musicians can travel freely and easily post-Brexit for time-limited activities such as touring and performing, with minimum administrative burdens.
A petition launched in September has attracted over 19,000 signatures, with the majority of people signing via a Change.org petition.
The MU is also encouraging all musicians to share their experiences of touring, performing, teaching and other work in the EU on social media using the hashtag #WorkingInTheEU.
The creative industries are worth over £87bn in GVA to the UK economy – more than oil and gas, life sciences and aerospace combined – and is the fastest-growing sector of the economy, employing 1 in 11 people.
The UK has the largest cultural economy in the world relative to GDP, is the largest producer of recorded music in Europe, and is the second largest exporter of music (after the US).
It is vital we get the best possible deal for the sector in a number of areas that have been so critical to its success – the ability to tour and trade easily with the UK’s largest export market and to attract talent, IP protection, EU arts funding, workers’ rights and the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
Horace Trubridge, Musicians’ Union General Secretary says: “British musicians have long enjoyed easy access to touring in Europe, as UK venues and festivals have benefited from easy access to European performers. We know from touring in the US elsewhere, that visas and other restrictions impose significant costs and administration, and occasionally considerable financial loss when visas aren’t processed in time. We are calling on MPs and the Government to help secure a deal that will ensure ease of movement for touring and performing post-Brexit”.
George said: “Today, I confirmed my support for professional musicians and performers in my constituency, and will urge the Government to ensure that they can continue to be able to travel easily across Europe post-Brexit for touring and performing with minimum administrative burdens”.
Farmers in Scotland could see their incomes cut in half after Brexit, a report by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has warned.
The staggering new research warns that a No Deal Brexit, as increasingly threatened by Theresa May, is one of a number of threats to farm incomes – alongside possible changes to tariffs and subsidies.
The report finds that the “worst-case scenario” would see average farm profits across the UK fall from £38,000 a year to just £15,000.
Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:
“This is a bombshell report that exposes just how bad a Tory Brexit could get for rural Scotland.
“The food and drink industries are flourishing, and agriculture is an essential part to the local economy in Scotland – helping drive our tourism and hospitality industries as well as putting food on family tables.
“Theresa May’s reckless approach to negotiations risks enormous damage to our economy. It’s time that the Tories put the interests of the country ahead of their party squabbles – and committed to staying in the single market.”
Worrying Precedent As Gove Fails To Uphold Protected Food Names In EU Trade Deals
Paisley’s MSP, George Adam is demanding that the UK government protect Scottish produce by upholding the Protected Food Name scheme in all future trade deals.
This comes in response to the UK Government’s omission of Scottish products from the EU-Canada trade deal (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements (CETA) and of key Scottish Protected Food Names in EU trade deals with Japan and Mexico.
SNP Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing has written to Michael Gove to seek assurances around the protection of UK food names in EU trade deals, without which our producers could be commercially disadvantaged. Fergus Ewing previously wrote to Gove’s predecessor, Andrew Leadsom, on the same issue but never received a response.
Commenting, George said:
“The Tories have repeatedly failed to stand up for Scotland’s interests throughout this whole Brexit process.
“The EU Protected Food Name scheme has safeguarded high quality Scottish products such as Scottish salmon and Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop cheese from cheap knock-offs, but Michael Gove seems all too willing to take this protection away from Scottish producers and open the floodgates to cheaper products appearing on our supermarket shelves from overseas.
“We cannot gamble with Scotland’s £14 billion food and drink sector, where provenance of product is paramount, and allow cheaper imitations to undercut our first class, wholesome produce.
“The UK government must meaningfully engage with the devolved governments to ensure that their interests are protected. We cannot let Westminster’s Brexit shambles leave Scottish producers high and dry in the global trading marketplace.”
New GDP figures show that Scotland’s economy has grown 0.8% in the first quarter of 2017, four times the UK growth rate for the same quarter.
Production grew by 3.1%, accounting for most of the growth in Scotland, and the services industry grew by 0.3%.
Since 2007, productivity in Scotland – the key driver of economic performance – has grown by more than 7%. In the UK as a whole productivity growth has been close to zero (0.4%).
“We are seeing an improving picture across Scotland – the economy is growing, the number of people in employment is rising and unemployment is at historic lows.
“Paisley has lots to be confident about. The SNP Scottish Government’s £6 billion infrastructure plan, £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme and record investment in Modern Apprenticeships and education will continue to support Paisley’s economy.
“However Brexit, and being removed from the world’s largest single market, poses the biggest threat to this progress and Scotland’s economy. A blind crusade towards a hard Brexit cliff edge could cost our economy around £11 billion a year by 2030 and result in 80,000 fewer jobs, and the fall in Sterling since the referendum is already pushing up prices and squeezing household incomes. This, accompanied by relentless Tory austerity, means we cannot be complacent.
“The SNP has a plan to grow our economy and we will continue to work hard to support it through difficult times ahead – determined to remain an open, European nation inside the world’s largest single market.”
Tories Must Deliver On Public Sector Pay
Paisleys MSP, George Adam, is calling on the UK Government to stop flip-flopping on public sector pay and endorse the SNP’s policy to end the pay cap.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay told the Scottish Parliament last week that the “time was up” for the annual 1% limit on public sector pay.
The SNP Scottish Government is now engaging with trade unions ahead of the next Scottish budget to discuss a future public sector pay policy that recognises both rising living costs and the need for sustainable public finances in order to ensure fairer pay for nurses, teachers and all public sector workers in Paisley.
“The SNP Scottish Government has listened to independent pay recommendations – showing the many nurses, doctors and police officers and more public sector workers in Paisley that their incredible service is valued and that they deserve pay that reflects real life circumstances.
“Indeed, showing public sector workers in Paisley how much we value their service is ever more pertinent as we face endless Brexit uncertainty that is driving inflation, forcing up living costs and intensifying recruitment problems – risking a Brexit brain drain.
“And with some public sector workers in Paisley still subject to UK wide pay policies – the Tories must act and act now to confirm that the pay cap will be scrapped.
“The clear message coming from Scotland to the Tory government is to end austerity, and end it now.“
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