Gavin Newlands MP

Government ministers have been urged to see sense and roll back changes to visa rules which are costing churches thousands of pounds, and threaten the future of religious groups across Renfrewshire.

New rules forced through by the Home Office earlier this year mean religious workers now face a massive 150% increase in fees for priests and ministers visiting Scotland – with Renfrewshire churches such as St Conval’s in Linwood having to freeze plans for the future.

Gavin Newlands MP

Traditionally churches and other places of worship have used overseas clergy to cover for holidays and sick leave taken by longer-term religious leaders.

But the UK Government’s changes have left churches struggling to cope with skyrocketing fees and bureaucratic processes.

Gavin Newlands MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire North, raised the issue in Parliament last week, and slammed Government ministers for their approach.

He said,

“Not only can individual churches not afford these elevated costs, but wider dioceses can’t absorb the full cost imposed on dozens of parishes and places of worship.

“For years our communities and society have been enrichened and supported by religious workers coming to Scotland on a short-term basis to help parishioners and worshippers.

“Places of worship play a vital role in our local communities, and for the Home Office to sneakily place obstacles in the way of those who want to help their fellow human beings is truly shameful.

“The SNP and I are urging the Minister to see sense, listen to the voices across the political and religious spectrum condemning this move, and scrap this piece of bureaucratic nonsense.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Renfrewshire can help Scotland lead the world in phasing out pollution and phasing in electric vehicles – but only if Westminster gets out the road.

Gavin Newlands MP

Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, made the call as Parliament debated the UK Government’s lack of progress on phasing out new diesel and petrol cars and replacing them with electric cars powered by renewable energy.

With nearly 1,000 public charging points, and another 1,500 points in the pipeline, Scotland is investing in low-carbon, renewable-powered electric vehicles, with the UK’s first ever electric trunk road taking shape along the A9.

Scotland’s near neighbour Norway now leads the world in electric car use, with a majority of new cars powered by electricity, a global first.

Renfrewshire will see dozens of new charging points installed in the future as Scotland aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral country.

Gavin said:

“The UK Government approach to electric vehicles is stuck in first gear, while in Scotland we are in the fast lane and accelerating fast.

“Climate change is the biggest threat our society faces, and the Scottish Government’s world leading carbon reduction targets are part of how we must tackle this threat.  Electric vehicles show that cutting our carbon emissions doesn’t mean cutting our mobility.

“Already much has been done – but there is a huge amount still to do, and the First Minister’s declaration that we are facing a climate emergency highlights the need for investment across the board.

“Scotland’s parliament needs the full powers that Norway has used to great effect to make huge progress in this field – and ensure we aren’t left at a red light waiting for a Westminster Government with their foot on the brake”.

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Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has given his backing to White Ribbon Scotland’s new training initiative. The campaign, which highlights the male tole in ending gender-based violence, has been training local bookmakers to speak with their punters.

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Since the launch, staff at Renfrew’s Coral and Ladbrokes branches have signed up 83 men to the White Ribbon Pledge. The pledge asks men to never commit, condone, or excuse violence against women of any kind.

Newlands has been an Ambassador for White Ribbon UK since 2015, and for White Ribbon Scotland since last year. On top of this, his work to support the campaign includes his role as Chair of the White Ribbon All Party Parliamentary Group where he leads the support of the campaign from MPs.

Commenting, Newlands said:

“I am proud to support the White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women. White Ribbon Scotland’s new campaign will make a real difference in Renfrewshire by encouraging men to recognise and act upon their responsibility for challenging gender based violence.

“Thanks to this training, staff like Joyce are addressing the problem at the route. I hope that the initiative is successful elsewhere.”

Joyce Breen, Coral staff member who has received the training, said:

“I felt that I could make a difference by highlighting the campaign to my customers, thereby increasing awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign in Renfrew.”

Gavin Newlands MP DAW 2019

Gavin Newlands MP is backing a charity’s campaign which aims to ensure that Renfrewshire residents who are Deaf or have hearing loss are not left out of everyday conversations.

Gavin Newlands MP DAW 2019

During Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May), the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North is urging constituents to get involved in Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s #DontBeADonut #BeDeafAware conversations on Facebook and Twitter at @hearinglossSCO and on Instagram at @actiononhearinglossscotland.


The MP is also encouraging everyone to take on board the charity’s deaf awareness top tips to help include people who are deaf in chats, discussions or meetings:

  • Before you start speaking with someone who is deaf, get their attention first by waving or tapping them on the arm.
  • Find a suitable place to talk, away from loud noise or distractions.
  • Ask the deaf person if they lipread and, if they do, don’t exaggerate your lip movements or cover your mouth and have the conversation in a well-lit area.
  • Don’t shout as it can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and look aggressive.
  • Speak clearly and check the person you are speaking to is following the conversation. If they don’t understand, try saying it in a different way.
  • If you’re using communication support, such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, always remember to talk directly to the person who is deaf.


Gavin Newlands MP said: “I’m delighted to back Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Deaf Awareness Week #DontBeADonut #BeDeafAware campaign calling on everyone in Paisley and Renfrewshire North to follow the charity’s top communication tips which can make a huge difference in helping local people who are Deaf or have hearing loss to have better opportunities to participate in everyday chats and discussions.”

For details about how you can get involved in the charity’s Deaf Awareness Week activities, visit, call/text: 07388 227407 or email: Donations of £3 can be made by texting ‘GIFT’ to 70099.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has encouraged EU nationals in Renfrewshire to register to vote.

EU nationals can vote in this month’s European Elections, which are taking place on the 22nd of May, but if they don’t have UK, Irish or Commonwealth citizen, they must apply for the right to vote, even if they are on the electoral register. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 7th. However, as Monday is a public holiday, anyone who is sending away extra paperwork should make sure to post it today.


The MP is encouraging everyone to get registered regardless of voting intention.

Everyone who needs to apply should have received a letter from Renfrewshire Electoral Registration Office last month asking them to do so. You can visit for more information.

Commenting Newlands said:

“I am pleased we will be voting in these elections, as not long ago it looked like this wasn’t going to happen.

“I want us to send a strong nesage that Scotland is FOR Europe, but no matter your favoured party, I encourage everyone to get registered.

“With the deadline being Tuesday 7th May, you still have time, so make sure you do so and you will be able to exercise your right to vote!

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Renfrewshire politicians join forces with White Ribbon Scotland and local bookies to tackle violence against women

A campaign to tackle violence against women is being launched in betting shops in Renfrewshire with the support of local politicians Tom Arthur MSP and Gavin Newlands MP.

Betting shop staff from bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power will take part in the week long campaign in support of White Ribbon Scotland, a charity which campaigns with men to end gender based violence.

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The campaign is the result of an ongoing partnership between White Ribbon Scotland and ABB Scotland, the trade association for high street bookmakers.

During the campaign, betting shop staff will ask men who enter their shops to sign the White Ribbon Scotland pledge ‘never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms.’

Previous campaigns in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Hamilton and Inverness have secured around 2,200 pledges of support for the charity. The latest campaign will involve betting shops in Paisley, Renfrew, Johnstone and Linwood and will run from 29 April to 6 May.

Ahead of the launch, betting shop staff took part in a White Ribbon Scotland training workshop attended by Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur and Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Gavin Newlands, an ambassador for White Ribbon Scotland.

Tom Arthur MSP said: “Unfortunately, male violence against women and girls remains prevalent in our society. However, the White Ribbon Campaign has created a vital platform to engage men to help make the changes required to end violence against women in Scotland. It is not about stigmatising men, but rather encouraging them to take a vocal stand against domestic abuse. In doing so, we can reinforce the notion that this violence will not be tolerated, and nor will the sexism and inequality that accompanies it.”

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Gavin Newlands MP said: “Violence against women affects many people in our society. It is essential that whilst providing services to support survivors of coercive control and violence that we also look to prevent crimes happening in the first place. White Ribbon Scotland provides training to educate men about what they can do to help eliminate this scourge. With this campaign through local bookmakers they are taking the messages of their campaign to our communities in Renfrewshire and I would urge everyone to sign the White Ribbon pledge not to ‘commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women’.”

Davy Thompson, campaign director of White Ribbon Scotland, added: “If we are to end violence against women in Scotland it is essential that we engage men to help make the changes required. The first of these is to speak up and create an atmosphere in which it is clear it will not be tolerated and neither will the sexism and inequality which condones it. Engagement through local bookies has been shown to reach large numbers of men who step up to take the pledge and make it clear that they will not ignore this issue.”

ABB Scotland spokesman Donald Morrison said: “This campaign is not about stigmatising men, the vast majority of whom would never contemplate violence against women. It is about encouraging men to take a stand against domestic abuse. The success of our previous betting shop campaigns shows that more and more men are prepared to take such a stand. In each campaign, customers sent a very clear message that it is entirely unacceptable to commit, condone or ignore violence against women. We look forward to working with betting shop staff in Renfrewshire to spread this important message.”

The partnership between ABB Scotland and White Ribbon Scotland has been shortlisted in this year’s Business Charity Awards which take place in May.

For more information about White Ribbon Scotland visit



Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North and Chair of the APPG for Scottish Sport, has submitted an Early Day Motion to the House of Commons which calls on MPs to add their congratulations to the Scottish national women’s football team on their outstanding and unprecedented victory over Brazil on Monday night. A win which marks the first time that any Scottish national senior team has defeated that iconic footballing nation.

The motion also calls for Members of Parliament to wish the team luck as they look forward to their World Cup campaign with the opening  game against England on the 9th of June. The victory comes just a few short weeks after Manager Shelley Kerr presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport on the success of women’s football and on what steps must be taken to grow the game.


After lodging the motion, Newlands commented:

“Everyone in Scotland should be proud of the outstanding success of our women’s team over one of the world’s greatest footballing nations- currently in the world’s top ten.

“Shelley Kerr has proven herself to be a world beating manager and has proven herself capable in developing an already highly capable squad and taking it on to beat the very best sides in the world.

“The success of the women’s side will continue to encourage young women and girls to play football and strive to reach the highest level. As politicians, we have a duty to champion our national team and to ensure that their successes result in the continued growth of the women’s game.”

The full motion reads: ‘That this house congratulates the Scottish National Women’s Football team on their unprecedented win over Brazil; acknowledges that this is the first time that a Scottish senior national side has defeated that iconic footballing nation; commends both Head Coach Shelley Kerr on her outstanding coaching ability, and Captain Rachel Corsie on her incredible team leadership, the combination of which has led to an already capable group of players being developed into a world-beating side; is not surprised by this success following the deeply impressive recent visit by Shelley to the APPG for Scottish Sport; hopes that the team are sent off in rousing fashion with a full house at Hampden Park when they play their final warm-up match against Jamaica on the 28th of May; and wishes the team the best of luck in their upcoming World Cup Campaign, particularly in their opening game on the 9th of June against England.’

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Recent polls reveal that support for a second EU referendum is strong in Scotland and that over half of Scots prefer independence to Brexit.

A poll commissioned by campaign group Right to Vote found that two-thirds of Scottish voters want a final say on the Brexit deal and a polling for the Sunday Times revealed that 53% of Scots prefer independence to Brexit, with 59% backing it over a no-deal Brexit. With a few days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, Theresa May is holding talks with Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to strike a Brexit deal.

BrexitSpeech gavin

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, warns Labour not to be the “midwife to a Tory Brexit” that ends free movement of people, or they will “pay the price in Scotland at the ballot boxes.”

The survey results also come as Scottish Secretary David Mundell backs the SNP’s calls for a long extension to article 50 to find a way through the Brexit impasse and avoid the “chaos and disruption” of no-deal.

Despite abstaining on key votes that would take no deal out of the equation, Mundell warned his Tory Cabinet colleagues that a no-deal Brexit would be “bad economically for Scotland in the short, medium and long term” and “have a disproportionately detrimental effect on the country”.

Commenting, Newlands said:

“Over two-thirds of Scottish voters want a final say on the Brexit deal and the majority of Scots prefer independence to any Brexit.

“Leaving the European Union without a deal would be a disaster for Scotland and would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs- plunging our country into recession. We have warned the UK about this from the beginning.

“It seems that Theresa May is pushing Jeremy Corbyn to accept a Brexit deal that ends free movement of people, which is absolutely essential for the Scottish economy to grow.

“I urge Labour to be careful – if they act as the midwife to a Tory Brexit they will pay the price in Scotland at the ballot boxes.

“The SNP is the only party that can be trusted to stand up for Scotland.”

Gavin Newlands MP

An SNP MP has called on the UK government to back calls for Tennis Scotland to receive fair funding from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) which would help support Tennis Scotland and Judy Murray improve access to tennis in Scotland.

Gavin Newlands MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Scottish Sport, confirmed the party’s support for a ‘Murray legacy’ to increase participation in Scottish tennis with better facilities and an increased workforce, calling the continued lack of funding from the LTA a “scandalous missed opportunity”.

Gavin Newlands MP

Writing in The Times newspaper today, the MP urged the LTA to properly fund Scottish tennis to assist the next generation of Scottish tennis players, many of whom have been inspired by the Murray brothers.

Currently, Tennis Scotland receives only 1% of the LTA’s revenue funding annually – worth just £700k from a £70 million budget. A fair population-based share would amount to £6million per year in revenue funding.

The SNP MP also called for greater recognition of the Murray’s contributions to British tennis following the LTA’s failure to mention the Murrays in their 36-page mission statement.

Commenting, Gavin Newlands MP said:

“Given the reluctance of the LTA to do so thus far, it is crucial that the UK Government ensure that the LTA provide fair revenue funding to all nations and regions of the UK.

“As the Chair of the APPG on Scottish Sport, I have been calling for Tennis Scotland to receive its fair share of funding since 2017 – the crucial first step in ensuring we establish a Murray Legacy.

“Over the last decade, Scotland has been one of the world’s leading tennis nations and the LTA must recognise this.

“The continued lack of funding for Tennis Scotland during the decade of the Murray’s success is, quite frankly, a scandalous missed opportunity.

“I was delighted to see Andy return to the tennis court this week, albeit tentatively, and time will tell if he can return to the courts competitively, but given this doubt, it is vital that we invest to develop players that may one day match, or perhaps surpass, Andy Murray. To do this, the LTA must provide adequate funding to Scotland.”

gavin newlands mp

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has said that a second EU referendum must now be the priority as the means of breaking the Brexit impasse, after the motion for a public vote received the most votes in favour in the indicative votes in Parliament.

He also slammed the Labour party for refusing to back the SNP’s motion to revoke Article 50 to prevent a catastrophic no-deal outcome. The motion was defeated by 101 votes, with 121 Labour MPs abstaining.

The SNP backed revoking article 50, putting the decision back to the people through a referendum and in order to ensure it remains an option, the Common Market 2.0 proposal, which comes closest to the compromise position proposed by the Scottish Government in December 2016, which also saw an increase in support.

gavin newlands mp

Commenting, Newlands said:

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union so the SNP’s No.1 priority is to stop Brexit and bring a swift end to the chaos that is already affecting Scotland and the UK’s economy, jobs, and living standards.

“The option to have another referendum received the widest support in the House of Commons, it is now abundantly clear that the only way to break the impasse is to bring it back to the people with the option to remain on the ballot paper.

“We all know a lot more than we did in 2016 and given this, it is clear that the best way to end the Brexit deadlock is to put the decision back to the people in a second EU referendum, revoking Article 50 has to be part of this process.

“Scotland has been ignored throughout the Brexit process and no one can claim that Scotland is treated as an equal partner in the UK. Whatever happens – Scotland must become an independent country.”