PARLIAMENT was busy last week but sadly the outcomes of votes was depressing as the Tory Government rammed home decisions damaging to all the UK, not just Scotland.

Foremost was their failure to entrench food standards, despite it having been a manifesto commitment of theirs. The supposed rebellion by the Scottish Tory leader counted for nought when he failed to resign.

It’s a threatening outcome to East Lothian farmers, which is why the NFUS were scathing in their denunciation of it. Cheap imports threaten them, and the reduced standards are a concern to us all. It’s been hard for farmers over many years and the job is more of a vocation than employment. They care deeply about the land they tend and the animals they husband. This undermines all that and threatens the reputation built over years for a quality product; and for which East Lothian is rightly famed.

Its not just farmers but those in food production and ultimately consumers who are threatened. This is about appeasing the USA, where standards are lower. Chlorinated chicken is the least of our worries and it’s why we need to demand continued protection for all. Many constituents wrote to me about that – the fight goes on.

Another bill passed was equally worrying, showing a drift to authoritarianism. As a former Justice Secretary, I know that occasionally police and security services need to act illegally – for example, in the placement of covert surveillance on drug gangs or terrorist groups. It needs, though, to be reasonable and proportionate, and subject to limits and supervision. But what has been driven through by this Tory Government goes way beyond that and is both unacceptable and dangerous in a democracy.

Finally, it was a pleasure to talk to Tranent Rotary about the massacre there in 1797. Local history is important and more needs be done to remember it. Joan Crookston’s statue is a start but a board explaining events and other plaques would be appropriate.