Glasgow East victor takes seat at Westminster

06 Oct 2008

John Mason with supporters at Central Station before departing for LondonSNP by-election winner, John Mason MP, today took his seat in the House of Commons after sensationally winning the Glasgow East by-election on 24 July, overturning a Labour majority of 13,507 to win his seat with a swing of 22.54%.

Speaking in advance of his swearing in, Mr Mason said: “The people of Glasgow East elected me to send a message to Gordon Brown, and now I am here to deliver it.

“That message is clear and simple. It’s time for action – action to help hard-pressed households who are struggling to make ends meet with the soaring cost of food and fuel.


“During the by-election, SNP pressure forced a U-turn on the 2p rise in road fuel duty. People are struggling to make ends meet, and SNP success in Glenrothes will force more action over soaring household bills.

“The shame of fuel poverty in a land of energy plenty transcended the campaign in Glasgow East, just as it is now the defining issue on doorsteps in Glenrothes.

“The swing that elected me, in what was Labour’s third safest seat, shows Labour’s days of taking Scotland for granted are over.  It is clear that people have had enough of Labour’s broken promises, and want a change for the better.

“People in Scotland know that it is the SNP who have delivered real benefits for them and their family  and are helping them out in the hard times by freezing the council tax, investing in more police and reducing business rates and prescription charges.

“Now people want the same positive action from Westminster, and that is the message the SNP is taking to Gordon Brown.”

Mason comments on health inequalities report – ‘Shocking but sadly familiar’

28 Aug 2008

CaltonA new publication by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put male life expectancy at birth in Calton at 54, compared to 62 in India and 82 in Lenzie.

The findings are included in a report by the WHO’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health which charts health inequalities around the world.

Commenting on the report, newly elected SNP MP for the area John Mason said: “These statistics are shocking but sadly familiar.

“Poor health has characterised the East End of Glasgow for far too long. It is absolutely inexcusable that life expectancy in Glasgow is lower than that of India where 80% of the population live in poverty.

“Clearly the area’s challenges are complex and will not be resolved overnight, but action must be taken on the blights that have held us back for too long. For example, measures to tackle excessive alcohol consumption and a lack of exercise as well as addressing maternal health, drug and alcohol misuse and early years provision.

“As a local to the area myself, I have been frustrated by the inaction of previous administrations to make real changes in the area but heartened by the news that the Scottish Government is taking health inequality seriously.

“In June, the Ministerial Taskforce on Health Inequalities Report ‘Equally Well’ set out a series of cross-departmental recommendations which the Scottish Government has pledged £1.8bn to support.

“Determination and commitment on this scale will make a real difference to health in the East End of Glasgow.”

Note:

The WHO report can be viewed here.

Senior civil servant reveals Brown’s by-election panic

11 Aug 2008

Newly elected Glasgow East SNP MP, John Mason, has described reports in the Sunday Times at the weekend that Gordon Brown is considering a one-off winter payment to households in receipt of child benefit as a “panic reaction”, after they were inadvertently revealed by a senior civil servant, Sir Brian Bender, who was overheard discussing the secret strategy on a train the day after the SNP sensationally won the Glasgow East seat from Labour.

Mr Mason said: “The fact that senior civil servants were rushed back to London hours after the SNP’s sensational by-election win leave little doubt that these proposals are a panic reaction to Labour’s humiliation in Glasgow East.

“First we got a freeze in fuel duty during the campaign, now we get an energy bill rebate for hard-pressed families. Clearly, while the proposal may be inadequate and half cocked, the SNP’s win in Glasgow East is concentrating minds wonderfully in London.

“While any action to help hard pressed families with the soaring cost of energy is welcome, with the average energy bill going up £400 since the beginning of the year, the prime minister’s proposals are a mere sticking plaster.

“It is no longer tenable for Gordon Brown to rake in a windfall of billions of pounds from North Sea oil taxation yet put nothing back into helping the economy or the hard pressed public.”

Note:

Sir Brian Bender is Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Mason takes message to Treasury – SNP MPs back ‘SHOUT’ campaign against tax office closure

31 Jul 2008

Self Assessment tax return formSNP MP John Mason, the newly elected member for Glasgow East, visited the Treasury today (Thursday) with SNP Chief Whip Stewart Hosie MP to deliver a 3000 signature petition protesting at the closure of the HM Revenue and Customs Offices across Scotland to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Kennedy MP.

Speaking outside the Treasury, Stewart Hosie said: “The Scottish HMRC Offices Under Threat (SHOUT) campaign mounted by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has been remarkable.

“Two representatives from the PCS travelled over 1000 miles across Scotland in five days to visit each of the offices threatened with closure. Along the way, they gathered 3196 signatures all from people opposed to the closure of these offices.

“Speaking at a PCS rally in Edinburgh last week, I was struck by the commitment of PCS members to providing first-rate service and their frustration at these cuts.

John Mason added: “My election sent a message to Gordon Brown. The Labour Government needs to start listening and not just to the people of Glasgow East but to the people of Scotland.

“The closure of the HMRC offices is an excellent example of where the Government should start.

“The SHOUT message is clear. The question now is will the Government listen?”