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“It’s back to Holyrood this week” – Emma Roddick MSP

It’s back to Holyrood this week after an Easter recess that saw me travel across the Highlands and Islands catching up with people and projects, and helping campaign for SNP candidates ahead of the upcoming council elections next month.

Unfortunately, no SNP candidates are standing in any of the Orkney wards – maybe next time? – but in between campaigning for candidates in Caithness and Shetland I managed a day in Orkney, including a visit to a project that has recently launched to cut down on food waste in the islands.

It was great to get to meet some of the team behind Greener Orkney’s new community fridge, based at the ORSAS Equality Hub in Kirkwall’s Bridge Street, including Jane and the managers of the local Co-op stores, from where the food for the fridge project comes. While this is a first for Orkney, I was pleased to hear that there’s already interest from other groups in setting up similar projects elsewhere in the isles.  It was encouraging to learn that so much food waste has been prevented already, and I wish Greener Orkney’s Community Fridge all the best for the future.

Although there are many pressing issues at local levels across the Highlands and Islands, the continuing conflict in Ukraine and the growing urgency for support to the folk who have been forced to leave their homes to seek safety is never far from our minds.

Our support can take many forms, and earlier in recess 22 other members of the Scottish Parliament and I sent a letter to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, urging her to support cancelling Ukraine’s national debt to international institutions such as the IMF. We owe the Ukrainian people our solidarity in the form of aid, not loans.

On the subject of Ukraine, I’ve been disgusted to see Douglas Ross and others in the Tory party try to insist that this isn’t the right time for Boris Johnson to resign, despite mounting evidence around his involvement in parties at Downing Street, because there is a war in Ukraine.

These are people willing to take advantage of the horrors of the Russian invasion just to save their own political skin. There are no words to describe how reprehensible I find this.

While people across the Highlands and Islands were in lockdown at home, keeping their friends, families, and neighbours safe through pain, loneliness and loss, the Tories – who told us we had to do so to save lives and protect our NHS – partied at Number 10. This much is now clear and supported by the conclusions of the police.

Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak must now resign, no ifs, no buts. They owe it to the people they endangered and insulted – the people of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, who deserve public representatives whose primary concern is to keep them safe.

It’s hard to expect from the Tories, but if they have any shame or value their own dignity at all, the PM and Chancellor will go now.

This is a regular column by Highlands and Islands Regional MSP Emma Roddick SNP. All Highlands and Islands Regional MSPs have been offered the same space in The Orkney News to share their personal views.

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