Chancellor may pay a heavy price for his tax credits trouble

The bells are ringing for the Chancellor not in celebration but warning. Back in July when George Osborne was basking in the warm afterglow of his post-election budget, I suggested in this very column that the Tory bell ringing would be transformed to hand wringing when people started to read the budget small print.

Now that is exactly what is happening. In particular the realisation that the changes to tax credits would cost millions of hardworking families thousands of pounds...

You can read my full column in The Courier's and The Press & Journal every Monday. 

I always enjoy my conversations with London cab drivers, Nigel here was no exception. Unfortunately, though, he didn't let me keep his bunnet.  



The Chancellor faced some tough comments from our Deputy Leader, Stewart Hosie following the UK Government's defeat on Tax Credits in the House of Lords. 

I raised a point of order during Topical Questions:

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I am becoming increasingly concerned about the outbreak of revolutionary fervour among Conservative Members. Has there ever been a precedent for a Chancellor of the Exchequer being outflanked as a defender of the working classes by the House of Lords?


Ella and her grandfather, David (who I went to university with at St Andrews) paid me a visit at the House of Commons. Ella, who is nine, is fascinated with the Houses of Parliament and after she interviewed me as part of her school project, she told me that she hopes to become an elected member one day. Good luck to you, Ella. It is great to see such ambition and passion in someone so young. 


During Business Questions, Sir John Chilcot announced that his inquiry into the Iraq war would be delayed, yet again. I raised the following point of order:

During business questions, it was announced by Sir John Chilcot by means of a letter to the Prime Minister that it will be a further seven months before the Iraq inquiry is published. That means that it will be seven years since it was established and a full 13 years since the war started. At this time of year in particular, would it have been not only in order but a mark of respect to the families of the 179 dead British servicemen if the Government had come to the House to inform us of this decision, so that we could have explored the reasons for the delay in the inquiry’s publication and the possible legal consequences for certain individuals if the inquiry were to allocate responsibility for that illegal conflict?

I gave a series of interviews on this subject throughout the day. 




An early morning visit to the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith. It was great to speak to all the locals, especially Iain who brought in his Saltire stone he dug up in a garden!

It was great to catch up with Angus Simpson at STV's Fountainbridge studios, where he was interviewing me for the show My Life in Ten Pictures, which will be broadcast later this month. 


Back in my home town for the Linlithgow Book Festival. We had a great turnout in the Masonic Hall. Thanks to everyone who gave up their Saturday morning to come along and support the festival. 


A poll, published by YouGov, showed that I am the fourth most popular person in Scotland. I hope Her Majesty wasn't too upset at coming fifth!