MPs Claim ERG Membership Fees on Expenses

Between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 financial years 42 Tory MPs have claimed a total of £134,000 on expenses to pay for membership of the European Research Group (ERG).

The ERG, chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg, has been prominent in the news lately for supporting a hard Brexit and causing divisions within the Conservative Party.

The fact that they are being funded by the public purse will be a shock and source of anger for many.

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Why an Advisory IndyRef2 Would NOT Be Illegal.

Image Credit: @defiaye

With the refusal of the UK Government to grant a Section 30 order to allow for the holding of a binding second Scottish Independence Referendum all but certain then the next best route for the Scottish Government to take would be to hold an advisory referendum.

But with tweets from some Tory MSPs today stating that Nicola Sturgeon is “plotting an illegal referendum” we can clearly see the rhetoric that the Unionists and their supporters will use against us.

However I can reveal today that legislation has been in place for over forty years that does in fact provide a way for an advisory referendum to be held.

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Who Funds Jo Swinson?

The Scottish branch office of the Liberal Democrats are holding their sparsely attended conference in Hamilton this weekend and controversy erupted yesterday when ahead of her speech Jo Swinson, the MP for East Dunbartonshire, was introduced as having “unseated the odious John Nicolson”. John is the former SNP MP for the constituency having held the seat from 2015 to 2017.

This won’t be the first time that Ms Swinson has had an article about her on this website, her first appearance coming when I investigated her spending at the 2017 General Election and you can view that article here.

For this article I’m going to explore the donors that fund her.

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Oops Ross

I’ve just reported Ross Thomson MP to the Committee on Standards and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for what I think is a breach of the Parliamentary Code of Conduct with regards to entries in the Register of Members Financial Interests.

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Holyrood Elections Voting System: A Discussion

I got into a really interesting discussion on Saturday night on Twitter about how the voting system for Holyrood elections worked and many people in the conversation admitted they simply don’t understand how the system actually works especially when it comes to the issue of list votes.

In this article I aim to explain the system in simple terms, examine the factors that led to the SNP losing its majority in the 2016 election and also explore the differences between voting SNP on both ballot papers and splitting the votes between SNP and another pro-indy party.

It’s a long article so get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger) and make yourself comfy 🙂

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Number of Universal Credit Sanctions Falling in Scotland

Data obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that the number of Universal Credit claimants being sanctioned fell between March and August 2018 in Scotland. (August 2018 is the latest month that data is currently available for).

Despite the total number of people claiming Universal Credit rising from 78,975 in March to 113,831 in August the number of people subject to sanctions fell from 3,397 to 2,380 over the same period. That represents a change from 4.3% of claimants being sanctioned down to 2.1%.

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