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It’s astonishing how much more tiring sitting through five and a half hours of the Welfare Reform Bill Committee seems to be than pounding the streets knocking on doors!

Ewan Aitken and Ed Balls on Portobello Promenade

Ewan Aitken and Ed Balls on Portobello Promenade











Much of the Easter recess has been spent campaigning in the Scottish elections. Due to various boundary changes, there are 4 Scottish Parlaiment candidates ‘inside’ my Westminster constituency and I have been going out with all of them.

However I’ve also managed to fit in some visits to local organisations. One was to ECAS, an organisation with a long history of working with disabled people in Edinburgh, to hear from them their concerns that the Government’s recent statements and consultation paper on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) had misrepresented statistics about claimants to justify proposed benefit changes. A number of constituents contacted me about the consultation on DLA reform and I submitted a response based on this. The Government responded to the consultation just before the Easter break. Despite there being over 5000 individual responses and several hundred from organisations the response is very thin. It’s literally ‘thin’ wwith about 55 pages, 10 of which just list the organisations who responded. The format is commendably ‘accessible’ in terms of print size and white space but that just makes the substance thinner!

Click here to view the consultation response.

The proposals on DLA will be discussed at the committee over the next few weeks – so let me know if you have any views!


Thank You

Thank you to all those in Edinburgh East who showed their faith in Labour and voted for public services. But I can assure those who did not vote for us that I will be a representative for all my constituents.

I have a hard act to follow in Gavin Strang and his reputation and many years of hard work were an important element in our success.

Special thanks to my agent Kez Dugdale who steered the campaign to such a successful conclusion and who was still there for us even after she was asked to take on an additional organisational role in two other parliamentary constituencies. Thanks too to my fantastic campaign team – too many to mention all but Matt, David & Stuart really deserve special mention. My councillor colleagues were also a great support.

And last but not least my family who encouraged me to seek the selection and have put up with my preoccupation over the last year, and gave valuable practical help – Brian & Alex especially. I must also mention my mother in law whose support and encouragement over many years has been fantastic – and my Dad who is the one most responsible for my interest in politics – many many thanks.