Mark Lazarowicz MP

Member of Parliament for Edinburgh North and Leith

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Speaking in a debate on cycling policy today at Westminster, Mark highlighted progress here in Edinburgh to make cycling safer and more attractive whether for the daily commute or leisure but stressed how much needs to be done if the UK is to emulate countries like the Netherlands or Denmark.

Mark said:

“The Pedal on Parliament each year shows just how much enthusiasm there is here in Edinburgh for cycling and the City Council deserves praise for its commitment through funding and other initiatives.

“There is still a long way to go however with cycling only making up 2% of all journeys in the UK each year compared to 27% of those in the Netherlands and 19% of journeys in Denmark.  

“Cycling has real benefits to offer, it’s healthy, cuts the number of cars on the roads and with it pollution and accidents but we need to integrate it fully into transport infrastructure and make sure funding is there to do it.”

You can find Mark’s speech in full here.

In 2012 Edinburgh City Council made a commitment to increase cycling’s share of the council transport budget by 1% each year and it has stuck to it: from 5% two years ago it now stands at 7%. In another initiative it is also consulting on the extension of 20mph zones in Edinburgh.

Mark Lazarowicz has raised the issue of access for cyclists to Waverley station with Network Rail which at present is only possible along the pedestrian footway from Waverley Bridge.

That’s undesirable for both cyclists and pedestrians and an illustration of the need to better integrate cycling with other forms of transport.

Mark highlights progess on cycling in Edinburgh but the brakes are still on for UK as a whole

Speaking in a debate on cycling policy today at Westminster, Mark highlighted progress here in Edinburgh to make cycling safer and more attractive whether for the daily commute or leisure...

Mark has urged the UK government to act urgently to enable a prisoner transfer to take place to allow Mohammad Asghar to return to Scotland who was recently shot and badly injured in prison - by a policeman.
 
Mr Asghar is a 70 year old man from Edinburgh, with a history of mental illness, who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy.

Mark said: 

“Mohammed Asghar is seriously ill and there are now real fears for his safety after he was shot by a policeman recently while in prison.

“The Scottish Government has now said it is prepared to agree to a prisoner transfer agreement and a petition calling for his release has been signed by 68,000 people. This is a potential way forward which would allow him to be brought back to  Scotland.

“I hope that the UK government will respond positively to this suggestion, and approach the Pakistan authorities to make this possible.”

At Business Questions today in the House of Commons Mark raised the issue with William Hague, now Leader of the House but previously Foreign Secretary.

Mark's question and William Hague's answer were as follows:

Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab/Co-op): The right hon. Gentleman will be aware from his previous role of the case of Mohammad Asghar, a 70-year-old man from Edinburgh who was sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. Recently, Mr Asghar was severely injured in prison after being shot by a policeman. The Scottish Government have now indicated that they might be prepared to agree to a prisoner transfer, which could be a way forward. Will the Government listen sympathetically to that proposal and arrange for a Minister to issue an oral or a written statement to give us an update on the case?

Mr Hague: I do recall that very disturbing case, and the hon. Gentleman is quite right to raise it in the House and draw our attention to it again. I will have to refer his question to my right hon. and hon. Friends at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ask them to respond to him and to look at the idea that he has just promoted.

Mark has previously raised Mohamed Asghar’s case a number of times in Parliament and with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary as well as the Governor of the Punjab where Mr Asghar is being held.

Mark urges UK Government to act on prisoner transfer for Mohammad Asghar to bring him back to family in Scotland

Mark has urged the UK government to act urgently to enable a prisoner transfer to take place to allow Mohammad Asghar to return to Scotland who was recently shot and...

Speaking in a debate at Westminster on the proposals for further devolution of all the three main UK-wide parties, Mark highlighted the need for them to command the support of as wide a spectrum of opinion as possible in order to reunite Scotland after the referendum.

Mark said:   “Further devolution to the Scottish Parliament must now go ahead: the referendum saw division and in order to achieve a lasting settlement as further powers are devolved we should seek as wide a consensus as possible.  

“It also engaged people in politics as the turnout testified and we must build on that as consultation begins with the Scottish people, Parliament and civil society organisations here in Scotland.  

“We also need a constitutional convention for the whole of the UK: yes, to address issues like the role of MPs representing English constituencies but also others like reform of the House of Lords and address the alienation from the political process that so many people feel.”  

You can find Mark’s speech in full here and the debate as a whole here

The proposals of all of the main political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament were published on Friday (10th October) by the independent Commission chaired by Lord Smith. You can see them here

The proposals of the three main UK-wide parties were set out again in a UK Government Command Paper on Monday which you can find here. The timetable for the process of further devolution can be found here.

In addition to the debate yesterday there will also be an Adjournment debate on Thursday this week led by Gordon Brown.

You can find Mark's views in detail on Scotland's and the UK's constitutional future here.

Mark: Smith Commission should aim for maximum consensus to entrench further devolution for Scotland

Speaking in a debate at Westminster on the proposals for further devolution of all the three main UK-wide parties, Mark highlighted the need for them to command the support of...


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