Lib/Dem Party

Argyll & Bute – Alan Reid – Runs His Constituency Like A Chessmaster – It’s Checkmate And Your Out My Wee Friend


Alan Reid was born in Ayr and presently resides in Dunoon. He entered politics as a councillor on Renfrewshire District Council from 1988-96 then contested without success for Paisley South in 1992 and Dumbarton in 1997. Presently the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Argyll and Bute he was elected at his fourth attempt in the 2001 general election. He was re-elected MP for Arygll and Bute in May 2010 with a majority of 3,431.

Educated at Ayr Academy and the University of Strathclyde he gained a BSc in Mathematics. Prior to his election to the House of Commons he worked for the University of Glasgow as a computer project manager. He remains a member of the AUT (Association of University Teachers). His interests include chess [he is reputedly Westminster’s most accomplished player], walking and reading.

From 2005-07 he joined the Department of Trade & Industry team. He was a Junior Whip and Scottish Spokesperson on Common Fisheries Policy Reform, 2001-05, and a member of the Select Committees on Broadcasting, 2001-05. In 2007 he became Shadow Northern Ireland and Scotland Minister and continues to do so under Nick Clegg.




What his constituents think of him

* Alan Reid, Political Realist ? – After a 100 days of this new government the title of this piece should be changed to Alan Reid, the Invisible Man.
There have been more sightings of Gordon Brown than there has been of Alan Reid ! Having said that I did spot this rather rare speices in its natural environment, at the Bute cattle show last Wednesday. He was with Allison Hay, looking very uncomforable so he was, wandering aimlessly around the show, speaking to no one, for over an hour, an art form in itself, until George Llyons showed up to take them by the hand. Poor old Allison, what has she gotten herself into.

* I will do his job and only claim half of the expenses he does ! And vote not to renew Trident !

* The letter was in fact highly critical of him – in fact I’ve never written anything which, taken in context, could be construed as even remotely supportive of him in terms of how effective he is. If he really wanted to use quotes from me about himself he could have used the following: “utter hypocrisy”, “Mr Reid is reluctant to let a bandwagon pass him without seizing the opportunity to jump upon it…….”, “he is not lacking in brass neck….” “Mr Reid’s memory is somewhat akin to that of a goldfish when it comes to recollecting uncomfortable truths, and he is clearly a man whom it is impossible to embarrass….” And last, and perhaps most prescient: “I never cease to be amazed at the effrontery of Mr Reid…”


* I just read the title of this piece again. “Political realist?” Political fantasist more like it and in actual fact the lies he tells in his latest leaflets have now become deeply offensive. We may rue the day that we decided to run a positive campaign and not go down to that level and get involved in any tit for tat with our opponents.

* I voted for Alan at the last election and the guy was given his chance and failed miserably. It is also disappointing that he failed to put himself forward and debate along with the other candidates on For Argyll this year. But then perhaps this also would have found him wanting, so perhaps that was the smart move for his perspective. As things stand I know more about Mike Mackenzie thanks to For Argyll than I do about what Alan Reid has done for Argyll in the last 5 years. Pretty sure it is nothing but he does get himself in front of every camera in Argyll and beyond. That would take a bit of time.

* Just to pick up on a point that Bill above makes. I have been a Lib dem voter in the pass and have voted for both George Lyon and Alan Reid, but George forgot where Bute was once he got elected and, has I have said above, what has Alan achieved. Don’t get me wrong I find Alan to b a plesant man and I alway say hello and take his hand, I just don’t believe he is the right politician for Argyll and Bute.

* Yes, Ron. I can hardly believe he has been trying to take credit for the fabulous Skycon development on the basis probably that he wrote a letter of support at some point. The work was done by Jim Mather, John Swinney,the Council and the Enterprise Board. As far as I can ascertain all Alan Reid did was get the good news sneaked out to him by a friend (we know who) and leak it to the press before the official announcement.

* Dave you make a pertinent point regarding Alan Reid’s leaflet however what I find distasteful is taking the credit for other peoples work (including my own and that of my colleagues!)



* I have to say I am very surprised that For Argyll allowed such a huge puff for Alan Reid considering he has refused to take part in the widely appreciated political debates on For Argyll. I am more surprised that anyone would think that expenses of almost £150,000 per annum on top of his salary should be thought moderate for somebody who only goes to Parliament two days a week, This is about three times what Jamie McGrigor has taken in expenses and over four times what Jim Mather has taken in expenses. The fact that nearly everybody else at Westminster is jostling at the expenses trough makes it no less reprehensible. What I really am concerned with however is the number of downright lies in Alan Reid’s latest brightly coloured delivery to all housholds. I am surprised that For Argyll hasn’t pulled him up on them. I console myself with the thought that these are the lies of a desperate man.



* Surely no-one can forget the unbelievable claims from the George Lyons/Alan Reid duo with photographs from all Argyll & Bute claiming credit for things to which they had contributed absolutely nothing. Alan Reid still tries this on in his literature following in the footsteps of his mentor George Lyons. He has never actually been in power to do anything really constructive for the County but has just carped from the sidelines. I will never forget the `spoof` in an SNP publication when they had a picture of The Great Wall Of China fronted by the duo claiming credit for it`s construction! It was absolutely superb! Well let`s hope that Alan will follow in George`s footsteps once again and shuffle aside to let someone with a real interest in Argyll & Bute and Scotland to take up the position of our MP who will work constructively with our MSP Jim Mather.

* Mr Reid may have been a highly visiable MP but what has he achieved. We all know what he does, writes lots and lots of letters, as he is fond of telling us in the letters page of the local papers and in his parlimentary report ( £5000 a report, 7 reports in the last year ) but what has he achieved in this time has a MP. I heard him talking on Bute FM on Friday afternoon and while there were a few subjects he mentioned that could be questionable, one that did stand out was SKYCON. To hear him speak you would of thought that he had single handily brought them to Kintyre, no mention of Jim Mather amd the other agencies, modest man that he is.



* Another subject mentioned was his expenses. I was not surprised to hear that he is in the top 20% of MP’s expenses especially after the article in last weeks Daily Mail, reporting on the leaked internal Lib Dem document telling their own MP’s to claim has much as possible. What did surprise me was that Mr Reid has a second home in Cardross while having a registered address a few miles away in Dunoon. I was under the impression that a second home was for MP’s who lived long distances from Westminster and needed a base from which to live and work while at the parliament. This means that we, has tax payers, are paying Mr Reid two sets of expenses, one set for his second home and one set for for his B & B costs while down in London.

* He is near the top of MPs expenses and this maybe pays for all these cloured reports he keeps posting to absolutely everybody telling us about all the letters he has written which seems to be all he does.

18/09/13 Steve Bell Lib Dems defence


* Alan Reid spoke in Parliament, in support of the introduction of Identity Cards . A Labour wag (Lord George Foulkes I think it was) called out “So we can know who you are!” to huge amusement all round. How true. Rarely seen or heard in Westminster. As Winnie Ewing once said, ” Unionists go to Westminster to settle down; nationalists go there to settle up.”


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May 2008; The abortion act update

In the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Alan Reid voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 22 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.




May 2009; Scottish MP Alan Reid claimed £1,580 for B&Bs and hotels near home: MPs’ expenses

Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat MP for Argyll and Bute, put through bills for 30 overnight stays in seaside towns and lochside villages over four years, many during the parliamentary summer recess. The MP was told that he was not allowed to use public funds to pay for hotel rooms within his constituency, but the following year he submitted receipts for further stays in the same places and was paid in full. Since then he has purchased accomodation in Cardross, also within his constituency, as his second home and claims mortgage interest payments and council tax. However he has continued to charge taxpayers for his stays in pretty fishing towns within Argyll and Bute. He says his unusual claims are a result of the geography of his constituency which includes several islands and areas which are more easily accessible by ferries than by road.



The Green Book, which lays out the rules for MPs, states that they are not meant to claim for hotels in their constituency if they have a home there, or if they also claim mortgage interest payments on a second home. Overnight stays in their constituency are allowed if MPs finds themselves on parliamentary duties and too far away to get home at night. Justifying his claims Reid said: “Unfortunately, on occasion it is impractical to travel home at night; even within my own constituency due to a lack of ferries. The Fees Office sometimes rejected my claims due to a lack of understanding of the geography of my constituency. I have usually challenged these rejections and any challenge has succeeded.

He said that his designated second home was close enough to Glasgow that he could stay there after late night flights from London. “This arrangement has been approved by fees officers because of the clause in the Green Book which allows for overnight stays in the constituency whilst on parliamentary business away from the main home if impractical to travel to main home,” he said.




Informed constituency opinion:

I am sorry.The notion that we should shell out for a second home for an MP because he’s sometime home late is ludicrous. The second home allowance was introduced to allow MPs to have a place close to Westminster, not a second house in the same constituency. I take it he is not up before dawn every day to get back to Westminster from Cardross. We are talking about occasional late journeys home. There are several hotels at Glasgow Airport including a budget one. There are ferries to Dunoon up to midnight of Friday and Saturdays and up to 10 oclock other days. Glasgow Airport to Gourock ferry is a 25 minute run. Most hard working MPs travel back to their constituencies on Fridays and they have all day to do so. I’m sorry but these excuses are nonsense and will do Mr Reid no good at all. Better come up with something better pretty sharply. I wouldn’t like to think Mr Reid is merely acquiring property with the taxpayers assistance.

I think it is most unfortunate that Alan Reid appears to have bent the rules here to own a second house in the same constituency. This is not what was intended by providing this facility for MPs. What was intended was for them to have somewhere to put their heads down after late night sittings in the London parliament. It does him or his party no credit to be classed along with other major party MPs as a user of the McTrough.

You saying Alan Reid “who doesn’t even have a second home” check your facts before spouting off. He has a second home at Cardross an hours drive from his own home in Dunoon so he wont need to catch CalMac ferry 20min from Glasgow airport or spend the night in the motel at the airport if he is on a late flight.

OK, according to the AA it’s 1 3/4 hrs from Dunoon to Cardross, but more to the point it’s on highland roads (from memory, single track at some points, definately single carriageway and not roads you’d want to drive at night.)

No problem with him staying overnight on the isles when on constituency business. My heart bleeds for him driving on the third world roads of Argyll. But why am I paying him to have a second home.

I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with having a second home in the same constituency – provided it was purchased to minimise the cost of B&Bs. Are you suggesting this is not the case?

Yes I am suggesting this is not the case I am saying the house is a nestegg, picked for its location near the golf course why not a flat in oban (the gateway to the isles) to save the two hour drive home after coming off the late ferry or after a surgery in one of Argylls largest towns


17/09/13 Steve Bell on Lib dem conference


Alex you make a good argument for the Daily Telegraph people. Why is he claming all the bed & Breakfast costs if he has a second home to prevent this OR why has he a second home (in his constituency ( I have no problems if he had one in Westminster)) when he is able to justly claim bed & breakfast costs. Apologies for the rant but study the local area map and idenyify the second home at Cardross then list some points justifying the location.

I can understand why Reid would require to live somewhere when in London when at his work, but why is he allowed to have a home in Dunoon (as reported in the local paper) and a second home in Cardross for which he claims 2nd home allowance and is also claiming hotel bills for when in London. B & B’s in a constituency like Argyll & Bute are understandable but a second home in Cardross which as the crow flies can’t be any more than 12 miles from Dunoon. Admitedly if in Dunoon to reach the airport it is easier to cross the Clyde by ferry but is possible to drive by road, and the distance from Glasgow Airport to Cardross is comparable to the distance from the airport to the ferry terminal and the ferries run until 11.30pm. Instead of claiming for a 2nd home in Cardross which he states he uses when he cannot get back to Dunoon it would be much cheaper to stay in the airport motel on the very rare occasions this might be necessary.

Donald, don’t apologise, it’s a perfectly good point. I can’t edit the map (well, I could, but only with big splodgy hand-drawn arrows) cos it’s off Wikipedia, but I will include Reid in a, “possible questions outstanding” post either tomorrow or Friday. The delay is that we don’t know how the party machine intends to investigate the allegations against Lib/Dem MPs, but some decisions are expected (not before time) on Friday.



Afternote: The justification advanced by Reid for his purchase of a second home is that on occasion on returning from London he might miss the last ferry home to Dunoon. That’s it. But the frequency of his attendance at Westminster gives lie to the foregoing. Records indicate he is in London on average twice weekly. In the event he misses the last ferry he should simply book into the airport motel cost around £40,

April 2010; Alan Reid supports the changes- cuts could endanger nuclear safety, warns MoD report – and the Westminster government is determined to centralise the entire UK submarine fleet in the Clyde – A nightmare scenario

The safety of the nuclear bombs and submarines on the Clyde is being increasingly jeopardised by the UK government’s spending cuts, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) report has warned. The public, military personnel and the environment could be put at risk of accidental explosions, spillages or radiation leaks, according to a new assessment by the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board.

A summary of the board’s report for 2010 by its chairman, Howard Mathers, says that safety issues “present a risk that it will become increasingly difficult to maintain that the defence nuclear programmes are being managed with due regard for the protection of the workforce, the public and the environment.” The report by Mathers, posted on the MoD’s website without announcement, warns that there is a “lack of adequate resource to deliver the Defence nuclear programmes safely”. There is an “adverse trend in resources’, Mathers points out, “which I expect will become yet more painful. ”Mathers added that “the frequency and significance of incidents remain too high as a result of poor control of work”. The principal dangers in the medium term, he says, “are the adequacy of resources, both money and staff complement, and the maintenance of a sustainable cadre of suitably competent staff.” The assessment by Mathers is the latest in a series of warnings from within the MoD about the impact of cutbacks on nuclear safety. It comes in the wake of reports last week that UK defence ministers had decided to hand over the management of the nuclear bomb base at Coulport on Loch Long to a group of private companies, including the US arms dealer Lockheed Martin.



The MoD was accused by one of its former senior safety officials of allowing defence cuts to “trump” safety. Lessons from previous reports had been “ignored”, said Fred Dawson, who was head of the MoD’s radiation protection policy team before he retired in 2009. “Decisions were taken in the defence review without a proper consideration of their impact on safety generally and nuclear safety in particular,” Dawson said. “The ability of the MoD’s internal regulator to do its? job is being compromised by the lack resources.”

Trade unions, politicians and disarmament campaigners warned that public safety would be endangered because companies could be tempted to cut corners. A motion expressing concern was lodged in the Scottish parliament by the SNP MSP, Bill Kidd.

The Coulport sell-off was also condemned as “absolutely horrific” by the SNP minister and newly-elected MSP for neighbouring Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell. “The privatisation of weapons of mass destruction is a policy without precedent and can only be described as both foolhardy and reckless,” he said.

The move, however, was defended by the local Liberal Democrat MP, Alan Reid, who pointed out that the site would still be owned by the MoD. “The Labour Party started the privatisation of our nuclear deterrent,” he said. “This is a continuation of the process begun by Labour.”



April 2010; Alan Reid two faced on this one – Lib Dem campaign diary – Local post office’s up for closure

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott joined Alison Hay, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute and Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat MP for Argyll and Bute at Connel post office in Oban to campaign on the party’s plan to continue the Post Office Diversification Fund.

Commenting, Tavish Scott said: “The Connel post office is a local store, cafe, paper shop and a post office. We want to see more post offices growing their businesses and cementing their place at their heart of their local community. “They are a genuine lifeline for many vulnerable and older people in particular. We need to protect these services.”

Scottish Greens dismissed this claim, however, pointing to the privatisation of Royal Mail being championed by Vince Cable. Legislation to enable Royal Mail to be privatised is just weeks away from completing its passage through Westminster. Greens argue that the Royal Mail is a vital public service that should stay in public hands.

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Patrick Harvie, the Greens’ candidate in Glasgow, said: “It’s bare-faced cheek for Liberal Democrats to be posing outside post offices pretending to care about them while Uncle Vince Cable in Westminster is getting ready to sell off the Royal Mail for a short-term profit. It’s time for the Lib Dems to understand that we are talking about a genuine public service, not just some indistinguishable commercial operation, and that if they had any principles whatsoever they’d be opposing these daft plans.”

Afternote: Vince Cable duly sold off a major slice of the Post Office to hedge funds, and rich Tory speculators who made a killing on the stock exchange selling off their cheaply purchased shares gaining profit, upwards of 30% profit. The state lost £billions. Well done Vince. The public were not allowed to purchase shares as part of the process although some were allocated to Post Office staff. A disgraceful act of savage sabotage of a well run organisation.



March 2012; The Health and Social Care Bill -Alan Reid votes with the Tory party to introduce the Bill

The Bill had previously been sent to the House of Lords for approval. As is usually the case the Bill was returned unapproved together with many proposals for change. Of major concern was the content of the, “Transitional Risk Register” which contained objective comment assessing risks associated with the proposed changes. The register would be available within two weeks, but the Con/Dem coalition government was determined to vote the Bill through without reference to the Register. A debate was conducted and the government won. The Lib/Dems voted with the Tory Party.




January 2013; HS2 decision is symptomatic of London’s attitude to Scotland

Douglas Chapman wrote

Scottish taxpayers must be wondering why they are paying the equivalent of £2000 per head for a high-speed rail track that only reaches as far north as Leeds. The Westminster government has pinned its hopes on HS2 which it believes can help grow the economy and bring wealth to other areas outwith the south-east of England. Disappointingly, its plans do not include Scotland. For those who think we are better off remaining part of the UK, this is a great example of the way the London-centric UK thinks about the rest of us. As far as they are concerned, we can wait longer than any other part of the UK, and by their own reasoning, our economic development can be put on hold. In the meantime, we will be paying up front. To date the UK has no HS2 plan or guarantees for Scotland. No wonder the Scottish Government, local councils and the business community are demanding that HS2 is delivered in Scotland sooner rather than later.



Reply Alan Reid MP

I was very disappointed to read the attacks on this major investment as insufficient. Critics should realise that these attacks simply encourage those Tory MPs who are out to scupper high-speed rail. The announcement will extend the high-speed line from London as far as Manchester and Leeds, and the Westminster Government wants to see the line completed.

Christine Goldie added comment

I Enjoyed a walk with friends on a beautiful October day round the village of Waddesdon in Oxfordshire. A fellow walker discussed the plans for HS2, confirmed by our Westminster Government. The same walker was not in favour of Scottish independence. I can see why. Better to keep hold of Scotland, and benefit from the vast taxation revenues generated by her whisky and oil. And, while you’re at it, let us completely ignore her when it comes plans for a high-speed railway, costing in excess of £30 billion. Perhaps some Scots will be too daft to notice the rank injustice. Union dividend? You bet. England is revelling in it. I sympathise greatly with my walking companion whose truly beautiful rural English countryside will eventually be destroyed to let fast trains hurtle through, just to get folk into London more quickly – because, make no mistake, that’s what it is really all about. But I wonder if my walking companion spares any thought for Scotland. I doubt it.




March 2013; How Scottish MPs Voted on the Workfare Bill – Alan Reid voted for the change

The Westminster Con/Dem government passed the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, which included a clause that retroactively changed the law to prevent back payment of approximately £130 million worth of benefits that had been found by a court decision to have been wrongly withheld. So the poor jobseekers lost out twice.




September 2013; Bedroom Tax DOES breach human rights and should be scrapped, says the United Nations in landmark decision

hated bedroom tax breaches human rights and should be scrapped, a top UN official will demand today. Special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik will call on the Con-Dems to scrap their decision to cut benefits to tenants with a spare room. She will say the policy breaches the basic right to housing as there are not enough smaller properties for tenants to move into. Rolnik is ready to reveal her findings today after an unprecedented two-week tour of the UK meeting campaigners, bedroom tax victims and officials.


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November 2013; Alan Reid rents his £12,000 P/A constituency office from the Lib/Dem Party

The data from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority shows six Lib/Dem MPs for Scotland – Inverness MP Danny Alexander, Gordon MP Sir Malcolm Bruce, Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Charles Kennedy, Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid and Moray MP Angus Robertson.

Authority chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: “Our rules allow MPs to rent from a political party, but we require an extra assurance from MPs if they do so – an independent valuation that the lease represents the market rate. “As part of a broad review of accommodation support, the authority will consider whether, even if the individual leases are appropriate, the cumulative effect means we need to reconsider this aspect of the rules.” (Approximate annual income from the state to the Lib/Dem Party £80-100,000). Jonathan Isaby, of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “It’s effectively a back-door subsidy to political parties.”

3521094928Steve Bell 28.05.2014


November 2013; Bedroom Tax: Cowardly Scots Lib Dems vote against Labour motion to scrap hated spare room policy

Spineless Lib Dems last night refused to take a stand against the hated bedroom tax. Seven of the party’s Scottish MPs voted against a Labour motion to scrap the spare room subsidy. The other four, (including Alan Reid) didn’t even bother to turn up.



December 2013; Tory Government likes to show contempt for the poor its policies have created.

Tory ministers once again revealed their true nasty colours in the Commons. the full 3 hour disgraceful debate.


December 2013; Food Bank in Campbeltown?

bumpkinsville: asked the Campbeltown Courier, regarding the current debate for the need for a foodbank in the town, if our MP Alan Reid would care to comment on why he voted no in the House of Commons recently for an investigation into their need and use, and all I received as a reply was this, copied and pasted verbatim from my email :

The answer: Subject: Re: Campbeltown Courier – Thanks Alan for explanation, people will see and hear what they want to hear – or jump to the wrong conclusions. A pitfall of your job. I won’t pursue the matter. Graham.

bumpkinsville: Can only assume from “Graham” not even replying to me personally, his decision not to share Alan’s requested explanation with me, and help me not jump to “the wrong conclusions” and his perhaps sycophantic, “A pitfall of your job” *doffs cap, that our local scandalsheet may perhaps have political affiliations? After all, I only wanted to know why MP for Argyll Alan Reid wasn’t interested in having an enquiry into the need for foodbanks, when one was being suggested for the town. “Graham” clearly feels that whatever Alan Reid MP’s explanation, we don’t need to know what it was, and anyway he’s not going to “pursue the matter”. Let the readers of the Campbeltown Courier “jump to the wrong conclusions” because “Graham” isn’t going to publish anything that may enlighten them. Anyone care to comment?

bumpkinsville follow up: I just received another response from “Graham” this afternoon, maybe he saw my earlier post maybe not, either way Argyll MP Alan Reid doesn’t really answer the question, and it still doesn’t explain Graham’s bizarre response not only to him but to me. He didn’t even say “that’s not what she asked you.” He just said “a pitfall of your job” (m’lud) can you believe the sycophancy? Not exactly hard-nosed journalism. It is disgraceful on both their behalves. Neither of them were interested in.

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This is what I just received from Graham…Below is the response I received from Alan Reid: I totally object to bumpkinsville’s claim that because I voted against Labour’s proposal for a 20 month freeze on energy prices. I don’t care if people have enough to eat. On the 18th December 2013, 294 UK MPs including Alan Reid voted against Labour’s request to hold an investigation into Hunger and Food Poverty in the United Kingdom. People are struggling to pay their energy bills, but it’s obvious that the energy companies would get round Labour’s daft freeze idea by putting their prices up before the freeze started and putting them up again when the freeze ends. Instead, the coalition Government are reducing people’s energy bills by an average of £50 a year by removing taxes on energy bills that had been introduced by the last Labour Government.

bumpkinsville’s response back to “Graham” at the courier…He doesn’t really answer the question does he, why am I not surprised? I wanted to know why he voted against an investigation “as to the need” for foodbanks with the Trussell Trust especially as Cameron stated “we are committing to working with foodbanks”, I never mentioned Lib/dem inability to keep pre-election promises. I wonder why he felt the need to talk about them instead of what he was asked, and his assumption that I support Labour? Could you please ask him again why he doesn’t want poverty and the need for foodbanks investigated, why he voted against it last week in the House of Commons? The original question, not interested in party political spiel, or what he thinks about energy, I genuinely would like to know. I think we need a new MP?


Debate bedroom tax

The situation in the Co-op was a very sad and uncomfortable scene where an elderly gentleman wanted to pay for his entire xmas shopping with vouchers and was told he couldn’t, he was angry and embarrassed, as was I. I thought of foodbanks, saw the thread on this forum and wondered how a recession caused by the richest 1% is being paid for by cutting social security for the most vulnerable in our society. Then read how my MP voted against an inquiry into the use of foodbanks and was curious as to why. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one appalled by all MP’s laughing uproariously as Fiona MacTaggart MP recounted stories of people fighting over end of day reduced food in supermarkets during the food bank debate, Alan Reid was there. Do a Google search if you want the horrific specifics. These are the people we trust to run the country, laughing at the poor, whilst rewarding bankers with bonuses. I thought my local paper may have a comment, but it seems they do not. Their raison d’etre seems to be naming shaming and giving out the addresses of people having to appear in court.




January 2014; Whisky tax could be lowered ahead of referendum in support of the “No” campaign

Tory economic secretary Nicky Morgan pledged that the government would look at the duty escalator on spirits in a Westminster Hall debate on how whisky sales in the UK have been squeezed by 12 per cent in the last five years because of high taxation. There has been speculation among MPs that the Budget in 2014 will contain measures to boost Scotland in an effort to support the No referendum campaign. In a recent debate, called by Labour Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe, the chairman of the all-party whisky group, senior Lib Dem MPs were asked to put pressure on the coalition. Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichal and Alan Reid Lib/Dem MP also have distilleries in their constituencies.




February 2014; Michael Russell MSP slams Alan Reid’s voting record on welfare.

* Alan Reid MP votes against SNP motion calling for welfare inquiry.
* November (2013) Mr Reid also failed to show up at vote on Bedroom Tax.
* Alan Reid MP failed to back an SNP-led motion at Westminster calling on the UK government to halt further spending and welfare cuts.
* The ‘opposition day’ motion recognised that the UK is one of the most unequal states in the OECD ranking 28th out of 34 countries for income inequality in the developed world, and called for the UK government to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the impact of the Government’s austerity measures on the incidence of poverty and inequality.



Commenting MSP for Argyll and Bute Michael Russell said, “Alan Reid has once again let the people of Argyll and Bute down by failing to hold the UK government to account for its disgraceful welfare reforms. Instead of sending a clear message rejecting the UK government’s assault on welfare benefits he simply fell into line. This follows on from last November when Mr Reid also failed to show up for a vote to scrap the abhorrent Bedroom Tax. This simply is not good enough. The Scottish Government continues to mitigate the worst impact of Westminster’s austerity agenda however the constraints of devolution means we can only do so much. We need the full economic powers of independence to design a welfare system best suited to our country and to scrap the iniquitous Bedroom Tax once and for all.”




February 2014; Welfare Reform (Sick and Disabled People) Westminster Parliament

It is proposed: That this House calls on the Government to commission an independent cumulative assessment of the impact of changes in the welfare system on sick and disabled people, their families and carers, drawing upon the expertise of the Work and Pensions Select Committee; requests that this impact assessment examine care home admissions, access to day care centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, provision of universal mental health treatments, closures of Remploy factories, the Government’s contract with Atos Healthcare, IT implementation of universal credit, human rights abuses against disabled people, excess deaths of welfare claimants and the disregard of medical evidence in decision-making by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Tribunals Service; urges the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Education jointly to launch a consultation on improving support into work for sick and disabled people; and further calls on the Government to end with immediate effect the work capability assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association, to discontinue forced work under the threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits and to bring forward legislative proposals to allow a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

We are making history today. This is the first time in the history of this Parliament that people with disabilities have secured a debate in the Chamber on an agenda of their choosing, so let us pay tribute to the War on Welfare campaigners. They initiated the campaign, drafted the petition that we have before us in the form of a motion, and worked hard for a year to gather more than 100,000 signatures in order to secure this debate. They are heroes and heroines who worked, many of them despite their disability, to ensure that this campaign was a success.

MPs may speak in this debate, but it is the voice of the WOW campaigners and petitioners that will be heard. What do the WOW campaigners want from this debate? They have said that they want a serious debate. They want MPs, party spokespeople and Ministers to listen, and to listen well to the statements that they have made. What do they want us to say? I have asked WOW petitioners what they want me and other MPs to say in today’s debate. They said, “We want you to get across as best you can what the welfare changes brought in over the last four years have meant to us and our families—the stark reality.” Why do they want that? Perhaps naively, they believe that if MPs and Ministers really knew what it is like, what disabled people are going through, they would not stand by and let fellow human beings suffer and be degraded in this way.

wowv2g-300x27217/09/13 Steve Bell on Lib dem conference


Mr Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute) (LD): Although I have not supported every detail of the Government’s welfare reform, I certainly support the overall thrust of what they are doing. Liberal Democrats in government are building a stronger economy and a fairer society so that everyone can get on in life. We are fully committed to enabling people with disabilities to have the same opportunities and choices in life as everyone else. It is important to note that disabled people are moving into jobs at the rate of more than 100 placements every working day.

Liz Kendall: Why does the hon. Gentleman support the bedroom tax, which has affected 2,300 people in Leicester? The council has overspent the discretionary fund by £100,000 this year because there has been such demand for it, and it had to increase it from £212,000 last year to £813,000 this year because of a tax that he supported. Why does he support it?



Mr Reid: The hon. Lady’s question is based on the wrong premise. I actually voted against the bedroom tax. As I said in my introduction, I did not support every detail of the Government’s proposals. No you didn’t, you voted for it – see this:

An end note: Between January 2011 and November 2011, some 10,600 employment and support allowance claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end. This Government have repeatedly refused to release updated 2013 statistics on deaths within six weeks of the end of an ESA claim, calling such requests for information “vexatious”. Four people a day are dying within six weeks of being declared fit for work under the WCA—it is scandalous and an indictment of this place. Some might consider this bad taste, but I am told that there was a story doing the rounds that when the bones of Richard III were discovered in Leicester, Atos carried out an assessment and judged him fit for work. It would be funny if it was not so sad. It is a sad truth faced by 12,000-plus families who every year face their own personal tragedies of this nature—it is a reality.



February 2014; MP’s selective defence of voting record

Alan Reid is very selective in defending his voting record. He was instumental in backing the welfare reforms that included the ‘bedroom tax’, and his actions since have been akin to stable doors and bolting horses. He mentions nothing of the motion against the ‘bedroom tax’ on November 12, 2013, for which he was a ‘no show’ despite being in the House of Commons at the time. Nor does he care to talk about the motion of December 17, 2014 to remove the bedroom tax, in which he voted in support of the Tories and therefore in favour of the bedroom tax. In fact, since 2011 there have been 15 votes in the House of Commons on the bedroom tax, and whilst Mr Reid has indeed voted four times against it, he has also voted to introduce it (as part of welfare reforms) or keep it a total of five times. No wonder the democracy website http://www.theyworkfor describes Alan Reid as “voting moderately for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (the bedroom tax)”.

He may have backtracked , particularly after his constituents started to notice what he had done, but he has backed it. Let me quote his own words: “There is a housing shortage and it would not be right for people of working age to be getting housing benefit for spare rooms they do not need if they have turned down an offer of a move to a smaller property in the same locality.” But just so as he does not feel lonely, let us also recall that the Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, said at the 2013 Lib Dem conference: “The bedroom tax is tough, but it is central to the welfare reforms.”



Mr Reid and Mr Rennie are Liberal Democrats. They must accept that it is their party which has been complicit in imposing the bedroom tax and, more widely, in propping up one of the most destructive governments this country has ever seen. They cannot re-write history just because there is a car crash of an election coming for them. They won’t escape that – not even with the smokescreen of blame that Mr Reid always tries put up when he is cornered. No matter what he says the bedroom tax has not been devolved – what the Scottish Government is having to do is to use money that should be going to build our society and economy on mitigating the disastrous, vicious policies of the Tories and their Lib Dem coalition colleagues.

That is the truth, and no amount of self-deluding spin can change it. It is the truth that will result in him losing his seat at Westminster in just the same way as his Liberal Democrat colleague, Bute’s own George Lyon, lost his at Holyrood.


Clegg Times cartoonDebate bedroom tax


February 2014; Welfare reforms – Alan Reid – Atos Is All Labour’s Fault

Blundering Alan Reid presents the coalition’s new line: Labour introduced Atos so it’s all Labour’s fault. (but coalition government rolled out the Work Capability Assessment against the advice of their official reviewer.)



May 2014; Welfare reforms, medical tyranny or crimes against humanity?

During the historic Westminster WOW petition debate, Alan Reid MP claimed to be proud of his record in government as a Liberal Democrat (Lib Dem), and insisted that Lib Dems in government have been responsible for ‘improving’ the WCA process, whilst totally disregarding the fact that it is irrelevant how much more ‘flexibility’ is given to the DWP ‘Decision Makers’ when overlooking the fact that the Decision Makers, by their own admission, are totally unqualified for the vast responsibility they have. They are basic grade administrators, not medical administrators, and they are incapable of comprehending diagnosis, prognosis or the implications of long term drug use when using a combination of prescribed drugs. More and more DWP bureaucracy means more and more delays, increasing numbers of incorrect decisions made by the DWP Decision Makers and utter chaos with a
system clearly in melt down as more and more victims of this UK Government suffer and die.

CONCLUSION: In the UK the growing catalogue of reported atrocities, fear, deaths, human suffering, humiliation, degradation and despair, caused by the impact of the ongoing enforced welfare ‘reforms’, are the very definition of Crimes Against Humanity and were accelerated by the Coalition Government without any consideration of the confirmed and very obvious human consequences:

Debate bedroom tax



August 2014; One of the most enlightening aspects of doing this website has been seeing how the nation’s elected representatives behave towards the people they ostensibly represent.

Catherine Wilson is a French citizen, but has lived and worked in Scotland for the last 20 years. She’s on the electoral register and can vote in local and Scottish Parliament elections, but not UK Parliament ones. Writing to her local Liberal Democrat MP for Campbeltown, Alan Reid, she focused on our “foreigners” question.



“Dear Mr Reid,

You are part of the “Better Together” campaign which keeps insisting that independence would make our family and friends in the rest of the UK foreigners. Although that may be true in the strict sense of the word, I can’t for the life of me understand why that is a problem. I am a French citizen, as are my children, but their dad is English, and lives in England. Does that mean he is a foreigner to us? This has never been a consideration for us, and I would like you to explain why it should be. Could you also tell me if you, as my MP, consider me who has lived and worked in Scotland for over 20 years, as a foreigner? Does that affect the way you are representing me?

These questions are of great importance to me, as for all the years I have lived in Scotland, this has never been an issue, but lately, I have noticed that people were asking where I was from, and in the context of the referendum, why I had a say. Although this is strictly anecdotal, it does worry me that people are starting to think in this way, and I can’t help thinking this is linked to the rhetoric deployed by the “Better Together” campaign.

Also of great concern to me, as a European citizen, is the question of Europe. Can you guarantee me that in the event of a no vote, the UK will still be in the EU in 5 years time? And in the event of a vote for leaving the EU, what would happen to me and my children who are here on an EU passport? Both my children were born in the UK, one in England and one in Scotland, they consider Scotland their country, so what guarantees are there they wouldn’t be made to leave if we remained in the UK but were out of the EU?

Please do not reply by telling me that we would be out of the EU in an independent Scotland, that is a separate issue and I already have the answers I need on that one. Yours sincerely, Catherine Wilson”

Reasonable enough questions, politely expressed. Here’s the reply she got.



“Dear Catherine Wilson

The legal position is that, as a French citizen, you are a foreigner and so I am not your MP. Nobody can give you a guarantee that the UK will be in the EU in five years’ time.
Without knowing more details about your children’s circumstances and any changes to the law which may be made by a Parliament, which hasn’t yet been elected, it is not possible to answer your questions about their future. Yours sincerely Alan Reid MP” More reading :



October 2014; How are the Lib Dems defending their seats?

This morning I left the conference venue to take a look at one of the seats the Lib Dems are defending in Scotland. Argyll and Bute is also one of the most beautiful Scottish seats and there’s some pretty stiff competition. The Lib Dems have held this seat since 1987. It’s now a four-way marginal. The MP, Alan Reid, could drift through a Commons corridor without being recognised. In Helensburgh however, beside the Clyde, you find even the disaffected and disengaged have heard his name. Alan Reid pumps a leaflet through every door in the constituency once a month. It’s festooned with his image, his work schedule and Lib Dem policies achieved in government. It costs £5,000 a pop to post out something to every constituent but with the Lib Dem efforts now relentlessly focused on the seats they hold the parties’ limited resources don’t have to stretch as far as usual.

In Alan Reid’s seat, the poll showed him losing to a resurgent SNP who have leapfrogged from fourth place. You can still be at the mercy of great outside forces. In Alan Reid’s case, if the devolution plans promised to Scotland don’t emerge to the satisfaction of Scottish voters, non-SNP candidates including Lib Dems like Alan Reid might be struggling on an extra front as voters punch them for what they might see as a broken pledge. See more at:

Comment: This is the gang who reneged on promises about tuition fees isn’t it? Well, isn’t it? I never bet, but I might be tempted to have a small wager the LibDems get electorally murdered in Scotland. And it couldn’t happen to a more suitable mob of lower bourgois hypocrites. Not that any of it will make anything more than a marginal difference to the corrupt ripoff that lies ahead.




October 2014; Decarbonisation Target (under the guidance of the Committee for Climate Change)

The proposal: That a decarbonisation target range be set by order of the Secretary of State. The public, by a large majority wish the government would agree a target, to be in place from 2014 but the Tory Party is against setting any green targets. 32 undecided MP’s could yet win the day for the Public. Alan Reid is one such MP.



December 2014; Alan Reid’s public views on nuclear weapons

Responding to a constituent – 2006. “I think that the lives of the Vanguard submarines, and the missiles they carry, should be extended and that the Government should start looking now at possible replacements. It’s important to remember that the decision over whether or not we actually go ahead and replace our nuclear submarines does not need to be taken until around 2014. I think it’s important that plenty of time be made available for a full public and Parliamentary debate to take place before any decision is taken.”

Told the Press and Journal – 2007. “I believe in retaining the UK’s minimum deterrent until we make progress towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Public meeting in Helensburgh – 2007. Told the audience that he was in favour of replacing Trident.

Statement to the Helensburgh Advertiser – 2010. “If this summer’s Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty talks fail to reach agreement on eliminating nuclear weapons, Britain will need to retain a nuclear deterrent, but we don’t need the massive firepower of Trident. When Trident is replaced in 2024, a less powerful nuclear deterrent will be enough”



January 2015; Labour and Lib Dems betraying oil workers

Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart has attacked Scottish Labour and Liberal Democrats for seeking to remove a key recommendation of Sir Ian Wood’s Review into the industry as the Bill which introduces its recommendations is debated and voted upon the Commons today [Monday]. Mr Stewart said it was not too late for Scottish Labour and Lib Dem MPs, who are backing amendments which oppose enshrining in law “maximising economic recovery” of North Sea oil reserves, to change their position, but that failure to do so would be a betrayal of oil workers fighting for their jobs due to the low oil price. The MPs move has been branded “ill-informed” by industry body Oil and Gas UK, who also said the move put the industry “in jeopardy” and “in peril”. Scottish Labour MPs Mark Lazarowicz and Katy Clark are backing one amendment which removes the key recommendation, whilst Scottish Lib Dem MP Alan Reid has put his name to another amendment which removes the whole section bringing in the Wood Review recommendation.

Alternative Energy Source Pros and Cons4733836-3x2-940x627cartoon-2


January 2015; Clean energy vote narrowly lost – Alan Reid voted with the Tory Party against decarbonisation – How sad

After masses of emails, meetings, and organisations lining up to support decarbonisation of our electricity supply, MPs supporting it narrowly lost the vote. The Government’s majority was reduced to just 23, so the amendment would have passed if just 12 more Lib Dem backbenchers had voted in line with their party’s official position. Seven Tories also followed Tim Yeo’s lead and voted for his amendment. See the attachment to find out how your MP voted.

The amendment is not yet dead – with such a close vote the Lords will look at it carefully. A Lords rebellion would not necessarily mean that George Osborne would give in and adopt the target, but it could result in a stronger commitment to clean energy than is currently in the bill. The campaign for clean energy by 2030 has also helped strengthen the climate movement in this country, and we will be working with our allies to build on this momentum. Thank you to everyone who campaigned so hard over the past months for this.



January 2015; List of Scottish MP’s that voted for austerity (including Alan Reid)



January 2015; Castle Toward Rally

Around 300 people gathered in Dunoon’s Queen’s Hall to make their feelings about Argyll and Bute Council’s refusal to discount the asking price of the Castle Toward estate known. South Cowal Community Development Company had offered £750,000 for the estate to run it on behalf of the community, but estate owners, Tory/LibDem controlled Argyll and Bute Council stuck to a disputed District Valuer’s costing of £1.75m, offering the community group an unaffordable loan of £1m.

Today’s meeting heard from Cllr Bruce Marshall (Cowal, Ind) who said that he simply did not understand the councils decision not to support the South Cowal community by discounting the estate. To close the meeting Helensburgh councillor Vivien Dance (Ind), who ‘retired’ from the council’s administration three weeks after voting in favour of the discount, took to the lectern. In a rousing speech she asked why Lib/Dem MP Alan Reid was supporting the community when his Lib/Dem councillor colleagues had voted not to offer the discount.

Cllr Dance said that she was against party politics being involved at council level, but was appalled that ‘your local independent councillors have given away power to a small number of Conservative and Lib/Dem councillors’. She continued: “Your local councillors have sold their souls. You must remind them that their souls belong to you,” before encouraging people to ‘bombard your local councillors with letters and e-mails’.



January 2015; Alan Reid and another 307 MP’s voted against a moratorium, so fracking will happen.

All over the UK, people and local councils have been refusing planning permission to energy companies for fracking. but the con/dem government aided by the Labour Party has a plan that will thwart the public. The plan, “simple” change the centuries old trespass law removing the rights of property owners – meaning homes surrounded by noisy machines, and local parks turned into gas fields. All without permission. The process – known as fracking – could also poison the water supply and produce toxic waste. And it’s known to cause earth tremours and worse. Most Labour MPs got on the fence and abstained – meaning they in effect voted against a moratorium. MPs weren’t even given the chance to vote on changes to trespass laws, because the debate went on so long. This means changes to trespass laws will happen, so fracking companies can drill under homes without the express permission of the owners. The situation is toxic.

144979_600cartoon clean_glass_fracking_cartoon_051220115


January 2015; Disgust at MP’s stance on fracking

It is with shock and disgust that I read our own MP, Alan Reid, has voted for the notion of fracking our beautiful countryside. He could have abstained. He could have voted to delay this monstrous process until futher tests are carried out to prove conclusively that fracking is a safe process. How little disregard he must have for his constituents’ health. Even less for our beautiful scenery. As countries across Europe and states in America ban fracking or vote to delay the process our elected member chooses instead to pollute our land, water and scar our landscape. I can think of no reply from him or his supporters that can justify this heinous descison. I sincerely hope the readers of The Buteman will consider Alan Reid’s vote when they cast their ballot on May 7. Tracey Guy, 27 Wallace Avenue, Rothesay



February 2015; Sexiest MP survey – Poor Alan Reid scores 641 of 648 MP’s

In addition to my wanting to create a fun and memorable tool to help the British public get to know their Members of Parliament, I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to hold the first ever parliamentary beauty contest and find out once and for all which MPs and Parties have the most sex-appeal. Although I fully expect this to offend some people, this was never my intention and I hope you will see the funny side. Enjoy, Francis Boulle




February 2015; a historical record of how MPs voted on important moral issues.

Of the 33 listed votes, Alan Reid voted in a morally correct way on 5 occasions which is a poor moral record in accordance with christian society.


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