Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has said the Scottish Tories are either “ridiculously confused or hypocritical” after attacking SNP justice reforms in the same week that such measures were hailed by the UK government as “smart justice”.


The Scottish Government is extending a presumption against short prison sentences as alternatives to custody, such as Community Payback Orders, have been proven more effective at reducing reoffending.

UK Justice Secretary David Gauke described effective alternatives to custody as “not soft justice but ‘smart’ justice” – while at the same time the UK party promoted a petition accusing the SNP of “soft touch justice” for taking the same approach. This comes at the same time as leading Scottish Tories have criticised SNP’s justice policies.

The UK government has previously admitted that there is “conclusive evidence” that the Scottish Government’s approach reduces reoffending.

UK Government Justice Minister, Rory Stewart, said last year: “We have a lot to learn from Scotland, specifically on community sentences, and indeed we will be looking at what more we can do to emphasise that a custodial sentence in the short term should be a final resort.”

Gavin Newlands MP, who sits on the Westminster Justice Committee and is a member of the SNP Justice and Home Affairs team, met with Karyn McCluskey, the previous Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit which has been credited with the leading the unprecedented success of policing  in Scotland. Newlands commented:

“Thanks to the SNP Scottish Government, violent crime is now at a 44-year low.

“Scottish Tory MSPs keep attacking the SNP’s approach to justice to try and score points, however, the approach is clearly working.

“Meanwhile, in England Tory Ministers in the UK Government admit the SNP’s approach is ‘smart justice’, it is rank hypocrisy of the Tories to praise the SNP in Westminster then attack them in the Scottish Parliament.

“Short sentences help no one and often make situations worse. Pushing offenders through this revolving door is no credible approach to justice. Instead, Community Payback works far better in stopping reoffending and getting people back to a normal life.

“The UK Government as enthusiastically backed this effective approach so it is ridiculous that Scottish Tories feel the need to criticise this astounding progress.”

gavin newlands mp santander



Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has urged Scotland’s Secretary of State to make clear what steps the UK government will take to halt the earmarked closure of 15 Scottish branches of Santander.

gavin newlands mp santander


The bank announced plans to close 15 branches in Scotland, which will have a devastating impact on staff, customers and local firms. Branches earmarked for closure include the Renfrew Branch.

Commenting, Newlands said:

“The closure of 15 Santander branches across our country is another kick in the teeth to our high streets and local communities, I urge the bank to halt these closures and begin a proper consultation with their staff and the communities that depend on them.

“Bank branches, including the Santander in Renfrew, provide vital services that are useful to many in our community, especially those with additional needs and the elderly due to the face-to-face nature of the service. This ultimately means that the important local employment they offer can be valuable for local communities.

“David Mundell needs to get his act together, step-up, and engage with other parties to define what needs to be done by the UK Government in order to halt these closures.

MP Gavin Newlands


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, met with FE Live to discuss their business, which provide full audio and event solutions for Concerts and Festivals, Touring, Conferences, Corporate, Sporting Events, and Theatre and Entertainment.

The Renfrew based team won two ROCCO Awards in 2018, awarded by the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce. They took home Outstanding Business of the Year Under 5 People and two of their staff, Andrew McMillan and Ryan McIlravey won Young Business Person of the Year.

MP Gavin Newlands

Newlands discussed their recent success, their business model, and how the company may be affected by Brexit.

Newlands lodged an Early Day Motion to give recognition to their success as an SME. Commenting on his visit, Newlands said:

“It was great to meet the team at FE Live, and I am proud to have their operation within my constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire North. FE Live are just one example of Renfrewshire’s diverse economy, which has SME’s in every field as well as leading international companies like Terumo Aortic and Glasgow Airport. I wish them all the best in continuing to provide their leading service across Scotland and beyond”

Ryan Mcilravey, Managing Director from FE Live commented on the visit and recognition received:

“It’s always nice to be recognised for the things you’ve worked hard for but I think our success really just comes from a desire to see our customers receiving the best end product that we can possibly provide. Our mantra has always been to invest in the best equipment and the best people so that we can provide a superior service for the end client. Receiving recognition from the local Chamber of Commerce and in the House of Commons I suppose is testament to the success of that mantra! We’re excited about what’s coming next however with our recent investment yet again in the latest technology from d&b audiotechnik and the year ahead is already looking very busy. Our customer base is so diverse from small scale corporate events to huge arena shows – this diversity arguably presents our biggest challenge.

“It’s one that we love to meet head on though as we provide the best service that we possibly can for all of our customers.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, and member of the House of Commons Justice Committee, has welcomed official figures that show that Scotland’s progressive approach to justice is paying off, with communities benefiting from around 7 million hours of work by people serving Community Payback Orders.

In Scotland, the use of custodial sentences under 3 months has fallen over the last decade, and re-conviction rates are at a 19 year low. Since their introduction in 2011, community sentences have been shown to work in preventing re-offending.

The Tories in Scotland have launched narrow-minded attacks on the replacement of short prison sentences with community sentences, calling the approach “soft touch” – in spite of clear evidence that it is the right approach. Their hypocrisy was exposed when Tory Minister Rory Stewart stated that “not overusing short prison sentences inappropriately is a good lesson from Scotland from which we wish to learn.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Commenting, Newlands said:

“It is clear that the SNP’s approach to justice is working. Scotland is now a safer place than it was a decade ago thanks to policies which make a real difference to our communities. Short term prison sentences often simply lead to reoffending and can ruin entire lives and tear apart families.

“Tories like Minister Rory Stewart are keen to learn the lessons of the SNP Scottish Government on justice, so why are Tories in Scotland not willing to do the same?

“These recent statistics prove that the Scottish approach is working and that we can have a justice system that rehabilitates, cuts the numbers of re-offences down, and helps victims.”

Gavin Newlands MP


On Monday night, Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, opposed the UK Governments divisive Immigration Bill which seeks to bring an end to Freedom of Movement in the UK and for British citizens.

Gavin Newlands MP

Freedom of Movement allows every British citizen, including every Scottish person, to work and travel freely across the EU’s 27 countries.

During his speech, Newlands told the stories of many who had reached out to tell him about his positive experiences of Freedom of Movement:

“My constituent Emma Hendrie, a 21-year-old student, studied for a semester abroad at Ghent University, Belgium as an exchange student in 2018. Once her fellow students got past her apparently strong Paisley accent, she became friends with people there from Europe and beyond.

Alison Ruthven Hughes lived in the Netherlands on two different occasions, which was a great experience for her children, who got the chance to meet other children from all over the world. Alison says that she is Scottish and European.

Mark Harold emigrated to Lithuania in 2005 to work on music projects and he stayed for many years. Mark was eventually elected by the City Council- he cites the raver community as the source of his popularity- and he is now the Night Mayor Vilnius and is the only known Non- Citizen to have sworn on the Lithuanian Constitution.

Sandra and Steve Murray wrote to me to tell me their story of making a new home in a small village on the French/Spanish border. Her village is populated by Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Belgian, English, Irish, Swedish and people from many other nations. Their daughter now lives in Barcelona and they regularly cross the Pyrenees to visit regularly. They wrote that in their village, ‘everyone is much more aware of what we have in common, rather than what separates us.’ And that ‘they only wish that the UK would adopt the Scottish view that we all want the same things – peace, equality and opportunity.

Others also told me how much EU Citizens in Scotland have enriched their lives:

Stewart Everett wrote to me and said that he didn’t study abroad but thought his university experience in Glasgow was made better by the European students being here as he would often be the only Scottish person at a party, he counts many interesting conversations and said that he learnt much about the world and how Scotland relates to it.

And David Kidd said that just because he may not have used freedom of movement himself that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel the benefit of it through others.”




Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, brought up Renfrewshire’s unrivalled contribution to the world in a debate in Westminster Hall.

The debate was focused on proposals to create a ‘Town of Culture’ award to accompany the prestigious ‘City of Culture’ award, after Paisley was the only town to be successful in receiving the opportunity to bid for 2021.

In the 2021 competition, Paisley competed it with cities many times its size, and the bid alone has left a great legacy for the town. Newlands also mentioned Renfrew’s historic past in his speech and hopes that in if the award is established, he hopes town across Renfrew will make bids.



Notice has just been given that Santander will close their doors to the town of Renfrew on 18th July 2019.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has hit out at Santander’s decision to close 140 branches, including the branch in Renfrew.


Santander announced this morning that they would be closing many branches across the UK, with very little explanation, including the Renfrew branch, and are unlikely to have considered how easy the access to other nearby branches are- with the nearest being Paisley High Street and Glasgow Argyle Street.

Part of their explanation for the closure was that local Post Offices now provide many basic banking services. However, this is often financially draining for them as it requires important resources to be used and employee time.

After learning of the planned closures Newlands commented:

“I was deeply concerned to learn of the imminent closure of the Renfrew Santander branch as 1 of 140 closures across the UK. This is certainly a disappointing situation for Santander customers in Renfrew and the surrounding area, but will be a body blow to the branch employees themselves.

Despite moves towards online and telephone banking, people, particularly the elderly, still need access to physical bank branches. In writing to Santander to express my dismay at the closure I have asked if they have taken this fully into account before deciding to close the branch.

In their explanation, Santander cited that Post Offices now provide many basic banking services. However, carrying out these services puts a serious financial strain on Post Offices as the paltry fees they receive for their work doesn’t cover the actual cost of providing the service. We cannot expect our local Post Offices to pick up the slack for large banks that up sticks and close their branches. I strongly urge Santander to reconsider this closure.”

Gavin Newlands Brexit


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has criticised the UK Government for failing to finalise almost all of the trade deals needed to fill the vacuum that will be left by the EU’s 40 existing agreements with leading global economies, and has pointed out that they will still have made no further progress when a No-Deal Brexit is due to occur in March, according to a leak from Whitehall.

Gavin Newlands Brexit
The UK has failed to finalise most of the trade deals needed to replace the EU’s 40 existing agreements with leading global economies, and will not be close to doing so when Brexit is due to occur in March, according to a Whitehall leak.

Gavin Newlands MP

In 2017 Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, confidently declared that trade deals would be finalised “one second” after Brexit, and coming to a trade agreement with the EU would be “the easiest in history”.

But reports in the Financial Times say that, two years later, almost none of the 40 trade deals needed to replace existing agreements with the EU have been finalised, adding to economic risks the UK will face if it leaves the EU with no deal.

SNP MP, Gavin Newlands, criticised the government:

“We were told that Brexit would mean ‘global Britain’ and that the UK would have trade deals ready to go. This is yet another example of a Westminster government failing to meet their ambitions and keep their promises.

“We may soon crash out of the EU without a deal, but what makes this even worse is that we may not have any deals at all.

“The Tories are about to rip us out of the world’s largest single market, eight times larger than the UK’s economy, and are providing nothing to replace it. Scotland did not vote for Brexit, and it is becoming increasingly clear every day that our interests would be better protected by being an independent nation.”

andy murray

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Scottish Sport, has echoed Andy Murray’s criticisms of the Lawn Tennis Association as they have failed to build on his historic success.

The APPG for Scottish Sport has previously criticised the governing body of British Tennis and provided recommendations, as they done in their 2017 ‘Scottish Tennis Funding and Establishing a Murray Legacy’ report, which frustratingly remains relevant today.

andy murray

The Murrays have been regularly critics of the lack of support offered by the Lawn Tennis Association to support Scottish tennis and have frequently called on a Murray Legacy to be established to help produce the tennis stars of tomorrow.

The APPG for Scottish Sport hosts evidence sessions to ascertain the support offered to tennis in Scotland to help establish a Murray Legacy. This included evidence sessions with the Scottish Sport APPG, Tennis Scotland, The LTA, and sportscotland.

Welcoming Murray’s comments, Newlands said:

“Andy Murray is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes that any UK country has ever produced, and although I am sad that he may soon retire, Scottish tennis should be extremely proud of him and his brother Jamie.

“Scottish tennis could be said to be in an unrivalled position to expand and produce more world beating athletes. But the LTA is failing to ensure that this happens.

“The APPG on Scottish Sport has highlighted the lack of indoor tennis courts in Scotland. In fact, whereas 30% of all tennis courts in Europe are indoor, shamefully there is only 110 indoor tennis courts in Scotland.

“We cannot miss this golden opportunity to build on the success of Scottish tennis. Given the LTA’s ample revenue’s and Scotland’s contribution to the game in the UK, it is a crying shame that the LTA has not invested anywhere near enough to establish a legacy from this unrivalled sporting success. It should do so now, before it is too late.”

BrexitSpeech gavin

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North,  has called for the Ministry of Defence to provide veteran’s support after shocking figures revealed the number of army homes left empty in Scotland has skyrocketed.

BrexitSpeech gavin

The figures, which have been uncovered through Freedom of Information, show that the number of vacant MoD properties throughout Scotland have increased from 690 in 2013 to 1136 this year.

Commenting on these worrying figures, Newlands said:

“Military veterans are a group that are unfortunately at risk of homelessness. Many veterans struggle to re-adapt to civilian life and often suffer from mental illness such as PTSD.

“The UK Government should look to the action being taken by the Scottish Government to tackle homelessness as well as their targeted and their drives to address veteran homelessness. As a result, homeless applications in Scotland have reduced by 39% in the last 8 years.

“Recent figures show that there are currently 1136 properties owned by the Ministry of Defence that are currently sitting completely empty when there are still many homeless veterans.

“Some of these properties may need redecoration or repair, but many fall within the ‘surplus’ category and could quite easily be used to house veterans temporarily while they are on en route to a permanent tenancy.

“The UK Government, and the Ministry of Defence, have a duty of care to those who have served in the armed forces, they must use their housing stock to help those veterans who are desperately in need.”