I RECENTLY joined Derek Mackay MSP in visiting the National Construction College, in Inchinnan, for a Women in Construction event.

The visit was part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, organised by CITB Scotland, the Industry Training Board and Sector Skills Council for the construction industry.

Apprenticeships are an important contributor to our society and economy, promoting economic development and helping to reduce youth unemployment.

I’m especially delighted that CITB Scotland organised this event, which encourages young women to think about applying for a construction-based apprenticeship.

Independence debate

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for an independence referendum to be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

Astonishingly, late last week, the unelected Tory Prime Minister announced that she would refuse Scotland the right to hold an independence referendum before the point that the UK is to exit the EU.

The Scottish Government was elected last May on a clear manifesto commitment which said the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is a material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out the EU against our will.

The Scottish Government’s proposal will protect Scotland’s interests and, when the options are clear, give the people a choice between a Hard Tory Brexit and becoming an independent country.

Regardless if you voted Yes or No, people will be rightly aggrieved over the Prime Minister and her Conservative colleagues refusing to give Scotland the choice between their Hard Brexit and an independent Scotland.

The Prime Minister must respect the will of the Scottish Parliament and allow Scotland’s voice to be heard.

Immigration detention

I delivered a speech in parliament last week concerning the UK Government’s shameful approach towards immigration detention.

I have been a vocal critic of the inhumane, ineffective and expensive way that the UK Government detains vulnerable people.

My speech last week was an opportunity to assess the progress that the UK Government has made towards meeting the recommendations of the Shaw Report, which was completed a couple of years ago and was damning of their approach towards detention.

The UK Government’s abhorrent approach towards immigration detention still allows vulnerable people to be detained for an indefinite period of time and, shamefully, still allows pregnant women, as well as children, to be detained in these prison-like environments.