Chris Law MP says Scotland can be leader on Climate
On 2nd May 2019, Chris Law MP, the SNP's Westminster International Development and Climate Justice Spokesperson met with Alliance members for the second time to discuss his role and share ideas on a variety of issues.
The meeting took place on the same day that the Scottish Government responded to calls by the Committee on Climate Change to set a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest with Scotland becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
Prior to an open and frank dialogue on a variety of issues – including Brexit, future International Development Committee (IDC) inquiries, policy coherence and the UK government’s handling of visa applications – Chris highlighted his commitment to Climate Justice, outlined the SNP’s Westminster policy positions and re-affirmed how important the voice of Scottish civil society is to his work at Westminster.
On the SNP’s focus on Climate Justice and support to the most vulnerable in conflict zones
Chris said that the SNP Westminster group will continue to promote the importance of a coherent approach to climate change at UK level. He said the focus should not only include reactive humanitarian assistance to those affected, but should include a fundamental proactive element that considers our long-lasting and deep impact on climate in developing nations.
Mentioning the upcoming IDC report on Climate to be published on 8th May, he also said that he believes the UK Government must do much more to make sure they have a coherent approach to climate through their aid budget. He believes that DFID has a long way to go to make sure that any work they support on Climate adaptation and mitigation is not undermined by other actions. In particular he mentioned their support of climate harming economic development strategies elsewhere, such as the subsidy of fossil fuel industries.
Attendees at the meeting highlighted that this lack of coherence, particularly around fossil fuel extraction must be considered domestically here in Scotland as well.
On conflict zones, The SNP’s Westminster group wants to see a greater focus on supporting economies in conflict areas as a stabilising influence that prevents political vacuums from growing. The SNP will continue to engage with the UK Government’s position on Yemen to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis there.
Furthermore, he said that the SNP supports the prioritisation of the most vulnerable in conflict zones, such as children, and will consistently call for the UK government to do more to ensure that UK aid gets to those who need it most.
On Engaging with the IDC and share evidence with MPs and their researchers
Chris made a plea to Alliance members to share evidence and information that can inform the questions and motions he and others can put forward in debates on the UK’s approach to international development and climate justice. The more we share, the more MPs can raise on our behalf, he said.
He pointed out that engaging IDC members and staff is also useful way to raise the issues most important to Scottish international development organisations. The committee is always looking for new inquiries to get its teeth into so it is important that we suggest what it should be doing next.
He re-emphasised that written evidence to IDC Inquiries from Scottish organisations is incredibly valuable and encourages Scottish organisations to inform him of ongoing issues and any questions worth raising in evidence sessions, particularly where there is a particular Scottish perspective that needs addressed.
Finally, he said that the SNP’s research staff in London are always looking to develop policy further and are happy to meet and engage with Scottish organisations looking to feed in ideas. Get in touch if you want to know who to contact.
On Brexit and UK Visa Applications
Alliance member IDEAS, represented at the meeting by the coordinator of SCOTDEC, raised the issue of EU funding for Global Citizenship Education in Scotland post Brexit. Organisations in receipt of the EU’s Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR) funding, like other EU developments funds, remains uncertain post-Brexit. Chris said he and colleagues would continue to put pressure on the UK government to provide clarity on issues surrounding Brexit.
Attendees raised an important point about the ongoing difficulties that some organisations face in their applications for UK Visa’s for visiting staff. Chris acknowledged this point and said that the Home Office have an inadequate approach to visa applications and that the SNP will continue to call for an end to their hostile environment policy. He encouraged organisations to contact himself or their own constituency MP as early as possible when cases arise so they can take cases forward.
After the meeting Chris said:
“Scotland has a large number of strong voices on International Development, who do brilliant work both at home and abroad, and I welcome the opportunity to meet with them to discuss the issues of the day, such as climate and migration, and to enhance the work I do standing up for Scotland’s view on International Development in Parliament. I look forward to our next meeting later this year and a chance to meet with more of the organisations which give our country such a good reputation.”