IT HAS been a tough few weeks in parliament with plenty of highs and lows ranging from the queen’s speech, to the prime minister’s new deal with the EU, to “Super Saturday” and the latest opposition delay.

The one positive of the past few weeks is that parliament has now voted for the UK-EU deal. Now the challenge is timing. At time of writing, I am hopeful the bill will be continued and put into law so we can sort Brexit and start moving the entire country forward.

Although Brexit has dominated the national debate in recent months, I have continued to work locally to ensure our community and individual constituent issues are not forgotten. One such issue is the Alloa Post Office, where my team and I have been working with the Post Office and local retailers to try and restore postal services.

Although I welcome the reopening of services on October 25, we still need to find a permanent solution and I am working with local shop keepers to try and find a long-term home.

Another key issue is the investment in our towns and villages. Previously the UK Government had announced its High Street and Stronger Towns Funds, providing hundreds of millions of pounds to local areas.

Now because the fund is a devolved policy area, Scotland received Barnett consequentials in the form of funds to the Scottish Government, some of which we have seen distributed recently.

However, the Stronger Towns Fund is now being expanded and has a central government fund that councils and communities can bid into. I have been campaigning for this fund to be extended to Scotland, providing Scottish councils and companies with the opportunities to bid for millions of pounds to support our local communities.

Meanwhile, the recent trade conflict erupting between the EU and the US has resulted in painful tariffs being imposed on EU goods travelling to the US.

As we are still a member of the EU, a 25 per cent tariff has been imposed on Scottish single malt whisky. We have many distilleries in our constituency, as well as the world-renowned Diageo.

We also have other industries in the supply chain such as the OI glassworks and local farmers that will also likely be negatively impacted by this decision.

We need to protect these industries from the damage these tariffs will inflict, and so I have raised the issue with government and written directly to the American ambassador to protest the tariff. Furthermore, I have requested the Chancellor of the Exchequer cut or at least freeze whisky duty for another year – we need to make sure our iconic industries are not hit twice.

As always, if you have any further questions or issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office on 38 Primrose Street, Alloa, by telephone (01259 764 407) or email (