Happy New Year

The festive period is about spending time with those we love, and for thinking about friends and family at home and abroad.

It is also a time to reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves.

So, this New Year, I would encourage everyone to take the time to check on a friend or neighbour who is on their own.

It’s important to spend some time giving comfort, companionship and support to those who need it.

We should also remember those working in our emergency services, those keeping our transport network running and the many more who give up time with their loved ones over the festive period in the service of others.

The New Year also gives us time to reflect on the past and look to the future.

My lasting memory of 2019 will be having the honour of being re-elected to Westminster to represent the people of Lanark & Hamilton East.

The people of this area have placed their trust in me, now in three General Elections, and I will work hard every day to repay the trust you have placed in me.

Whether you voted for me or not, I will endeavour to represent you, and above all strive to always be a voice for you.

The election was comprehensively won, not just in Lanark and Hamilton East, but across Scotland by the SNP in 47 seats.

You need to go as far back to the 1970s to find a party that got a higher share of the vote across the UK than the SNP did in Scotland last week.

The victory was an endorsement of our message – Scotland does not want a Tory government and we don’t Brexit, and while opinions may differ on the question of independence, we do want Scotland’s future to be in Scotland’s hands.

By contrast, while the Conservative Party won a majority across the United Kingdom, they were defeated resoundingly in Scotland.

Defeated after fighting the election on the single issue of opposition to an independence referendum.

They lost not just vote share, but more than half of their seats. The Conservatives have now lost 17 consecutive Westminster elections in Scotland.

But despite that, we face a majority Tory government implementing a manifesto that Scotland rejected.

At the election 90 per cent of seats were won by pro EU or pro EU referendum parties and 74% of the vote went to parties that supported a second referendum.

But regardless, we are set to be dragged out of the EU against our will.

This election proved that what Scotland wants is different to the rest of the UK, and whilst they should be allowed to leave the EU, Scotland must now have a say over its future.

So, as we look forward to 2020, let’s look forward with hope.

Hope that we can transform our communities, end homelessness, give young people better opportunities and to elect the Governments that we vote for.

Because independence is not an end in itself – it is a mechanism to build a country that reflects our ambitions.

We will have a choice over our future in the not too distant future – a choice between a Brexit Britain led by Boris Johnson or of an independent Scotland in Europe.

This is a real opportunity, for all political parties in Scotland, to come together and work collaboratively to build a brighter future together.

I wish you a very enjoyable holiday season and a Happy New Year!