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Paisley Dunn Square
By Dunn Square, Paisley


What is the role of a Member of Parliament?
The UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. Nearly all MPs represent political parties, therefore inline with the principles stated in the party's election manifesto, MPs vote to give support to, or opposition against, laws and amendments to laws.

They also work in support of the their constituency area, and can give help and advice directly to constituents.

My role as your MP here in Paisley & Renfrewshire South
If you have a problem, who do you contact  - your Renfrewshire Councillor, your MP or MSP?

People come to me with a wide range of issues and problems. Sometimes I cannot help a constituent because it is an area over which I have no control as an MP. In those cases, I would refer them to their local MSP or Councillor.

With so many options it can seem confusing. Here, I take the opportunity to explain my role as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and how you can contact for help or advice.

I was given the trust of the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire South when they first voted for me in November 97, re-elected me in June 2001, May 2005 and May 2010. I feel very strongly that I should repay that trust by representing the interests of the constituency as a whole in Westminster and locally, but also by helping individual constituents.

The job necessarily involves time at Westminster as well as here in Paisley. When the House of Commons is sitting, I usually travel to London for Parliament's Monday business, and return on overnight on Thursday.

I make sure I keep in touch with local interests, concerns and views by arranging as many visits and meetings with local groups and organisations as possible. I meet regularly with the following types of groups:

· voluntary organisations, local and national
· statutory agencies like the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service
· local businesses and the organisations which represent them
· special interest groups
· community based organisations like elderly forums and youth groups
· the people who deliver and use services – education at every stage, social services, voluntary services

In terms of helping and keeping in touch with individual constituents, I have a constituency office in Paisley open Monday to Friday. People write to me at the office, email, or phone to raise a variety of issues.

I also hold regular constituency advice surgeries. I want to make it as easy as possible for people to have access to their MP.

How can I help you?
As an MP I work for everyone in the community, not just those who voted for me. Regardless of your own politics I am here to stand up for you and to help you with all issues regarding parliament and the Government.

As an MP in Scotland, I am responsible for reserved issues. The UK Parliament at Westminster retains powers, called reserved powers, and include the following matters:

The Constitution / Foreign Affairs / Defence / The Civil Service / Financial and Economic Matters / National Security / Immigration, Border Control and Nationality / Trade and Industry (e.g. competition and consumer protection) / Energy  / Many aspects of Transport (e.g. air travel, DVLA) / Social Security Benefits, Pensions / Employment / Department of Health / Broadcasting and TV Licencing/ Equal Opportunities / The National Lottery / Royal Mail.

Other responsibilities have now been devolved to the Scottish Parliament since 1999.

The Scottish Parliament
Since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999, the role of UK Members of Parliament has changed. Many policy areas have been divided between the two Parliaments. Those that are now the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament are known as devolved powers.

Powers that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament include:
Health & the NHS in Scotland / Education / Training policy & lifelong learning / Local Government / Social work / Housing / Planning / Economic development / Financial assistance to industry / Some aspects of transport e.g. the Scottish road network; bus policy; ports and harbours / the Justice system / Police and Fire Services / Environment / Natural and built heritage / Tourism / Agriculture / Food standards / Forestry / Fisheries / Sport.

On these matters, you should contact your MSP. My office can advise if you are unsure who that might be, or link to the Scottish Parliament website.

Council matters
MPs are often asked to intervene in council matters. MPs have no authority to direct local authorities to take a particular course of action - they can merely make representations on your behalf. Your elected Councillor is responsible for Council policy. If you have a council related query, you should contact your local councillor, in the first instance. If you're not sure who your councillor is call Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 0330 or 0300 300 0300, or link to Renfrewshire Council website here.

How can I contact?
The Contacts page of this website has a full list of contacts - but in summary, if you live in the Paisley and Renfrewshire South Constituency, check here if unsure, and would like to raise any of these matters with me, you can reach me at the Constituency Office, 2014 Mile End Mill, Abbey Mill Business Centre, Paisley PA1 1JS; email me at , or call 0141 561 0333.

If you do not live in Paisley & Renfrewshire South?
There is a strict parliamentary protocol which dictates that MPs may only represent their own constituents on personal matters. However if you have a policy-related concern in connection to my Shadow Cabinet role you can write to me at the House of Commons or email to my Parliament email account Please note though, my Shadow Cabinet role does not allow me to take up cases for individuals outwith my constituency - such matters must be referred to your own MP.

My role in the Shadow Cabinet
I am currently Shadow Foreign Secretary in Her Majesty's Official Opposition (Shadow Cabinet). For further information on Shadow Cabinet roles click here.

Invitations to an event?
You can either send an invitation in the post or via email (see the Contact page for addresses). Please note, written information is required for an invitation to be considered.

How can I find out details about past voting?
The Parliament's website provides full publications and records of what is going on currently, and in previous years, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The official report of debates, questions, committees and other proceedings is called the Hansard. Further details of my own records can be found on the 'My work in Parliament' page here on this website.

Additionally the website "Public Whip" is a another site reporting on how MP and Lord/Baroness 
past voting:
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