Safety fears for MP’s surgery

jo swinson hand in
jo swinson hand in

FEARS over ugly scenes at MP Jo Swinson’s Bearsden surgery last week led to its cancellation.

Fury was sparked after the Liberal Democrat East Dunbartonshire MP voted for ConDem coalition legislation which will see some tuition fees in England rise to £9,000.

Her planned constituents’ surgery in Asda Bearsden was called off aftger there were fears it would be targetted by protestors.

Defending her support of the proposals, which have brought huge protests to the streets of London and other cities, Ms Swinson laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of the last Labour government.

This is despite the LibDems pledging during the election campaign to oppose fees - and despite widespread opposition in her own party, where senior Scottish figures such as former leaders Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Camopbell opposed the move.

Ms Swinson said: “We are dealing with the financial crisis left by Labour.

”What we have achieved is not as good as would have been the case under a Liberal Democrat government, but I have worked hard to ensure that it is fairer than the system we were left by Labour and that’s why I supported the proposals.”

However, Labour MSP Des McNulty blasted: “Jo Swinson made the pledge that she would vote against any increase in tuition fees beside her picture in her election leaflets.

“Her claim that the LibDems have secured a good deal for students is dishonest. Fees are being more than doubled as the ConDem government withdraws taxpayer support.

“To her eternal shame her excuses compound the basic dishonesty of the LibDem position, which half their parliamentary party couldn’t stomach when it came to the crunch.

“For Jo to argue that LibDems will deliver free higher education in Scotland when her coalition government at Westminster are removing £300million funding a year is simply compounding her offence.

“We cannot allow our students to be victims of electoral trickery from any political party.”

Scottish Nationalist MSP Gil Paterson has written to Ms Swinson asking if she would support the introduction of tuition fees in Scotland and said: “She has shown she is a totally unprincipled career politician. She could have voted against the decision with 21 of her LibDem colleagues who opposed it, but she didn’t.”

Police said that given the events in London recently, where police clashed with demonstrators, the decision to cancel the surgery was taken in the interests of public safety when information was received that protestors intended descending on Asda.

Ms Swinson responded by leaving a message on her Facebook page saying she was sorry about the short notice of the surgery cancellation, adding: “I won’t see you there but I am happy to listen to your concerns about this. If you can e-mail me at then we can arrange a meeting to discuss the issue.”

Ms Swinson told the Herald her other surgeries were continuing as normal and confirmed she was happy to engage with constituents about higher education funding as she appreciated the strength of feeling surrounding the issue.