Tag Archives: beatrice wishart

Alex Cole-Hamilton presses Sturgeon for action on violence against women

On Sunday 20th November, Scottish newspaper the Sunday Post outlined the most horrific failures of several public services towards Adrienne McCartney, a victim of domestic abuse who died by suicide earlier this year.

The paper reports how the Police dismissed her calls for help and then arrested her, holding her in dreadful conditions, over a social media post.  Then prosecutors  did a deal with her husband to drop the most serious charges before failing to ask for a non harassment order. And then when she tried to get help for her deteriorating mental health,  the NHS could not provide it.

Adrienne’s lawyer told the paper:

“In all my years working in the field of domestic abuse, this case is the worst. Adrienne was let down by every agency she turned to. It is unforgivable.

“She should be here today and the fact that she is not is an indictment of the system and how it addresses domestic abuse. What happened to Adrienne keeps me awake at night but tragically she is not the first and, unless there is dramatic change, she will not be the last.”

He also described his frustration on the night Adrienne was arrested:

“She eventually ­managed to get a phone call to me. When I told officers that I would happily bring Adrienne to the police station myself to answer any questions they had, I was told to ‘f*** off’. That is also currently the subject of an official complaint.

“So a young mother is taken from her home late at night, in front of her children, handcuffed, only to be released after several hours without any charge and this, it has to be stressed, is a ­documented victim of domestic abuse.”

This week’s Sunday Post had details of a letter Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton wrote to the First Minister after reading Adrienne’s story, alongside calls for action from MSPs from all parties. Alex repeated our call for a Commission to look at ways of ending men’s violence against women in all its forms:

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Does your hospital have dedicated baby loss facilities?

Imagine you have just heard the news that every parent to be dreads – that you are losing your much wanted baby.

Then, you have to give birth, or support your partner giving birth on the labour ward in your hospital. You can hear the sounds of newborn babies crying and the associated sounds of joy, intensifying the agony you are going through.

When that happened to Louise Caldwell from Lanarkshire, she determined to change things. Her campaign for dedicated baby loss facilities has already been successful in her local hospital and the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Shetland where she also experienced the loss of a baby.  The Scottish Government has said that all hospitals will have these facilities within two years.

Next week she’ll be in Westminster talking to MPs about her experience and her campaign in the hope that such facilities will be introduced across the UK?

From the Daily Record:

Louise, from East Kilbride, told Lanarkshire Live : “I never imagined when I started the campaign that I, a mum from East Kilbride, would be speaking to MPs at Westminster.

“To achieve the new unit at Wishaw – which will hopefully open in the coming months – is a fantastic achievement but there is still so much to do – and I can’t do it on my own.

“I want to see the promise by the Scottish Government to have these facilities in hospitals elsewhere fulfilled and I want to see them replicated across the UK.

Shetland’s Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart was the first to raise this issue in the Scottish Parliament and she recently talked about it during Baby Loss Awareness Week.

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Beatrice Wishart’s speech for International Women’s Day

This week the Scottish Parliament held a debate for International Women’s Day, which happens on Tuesday 8th March.

Beatrice Wishart MSP spoke for the Liberal Democrats:

You can read her speech in full below and the link to the debate is here.

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Beatrice Wishart: We need to do better at tackling Endometriosis

This week, the Scottish Parliament debated the horrible, painful, debilitating condition Endometriosis.

Shetland’s Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart highlighted the distress this condition can cause and the impact it can have on women’s whole lives – and says that we must do better than the misogynistic dismissal of this condition that we so often see. Here is her speech in full:

I congratulate Rachael Hamilton on securing this important debate. So much has already been said about the impact that endometriosis has across all aspects of life, but I make no apology for repeating some of what has already been highlighted today.

I want to start by outlining exactly what is at the heart of this discussion: the lives of women and girls. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to that in the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include, among others, painful or heavy periods, painful bowel movements and pelvic pain. An estimated 1.5 million women in the United Kingdom are affected, which is similar to the number of women who have diabetes.

However, as we have heard, it takes an average of eight and a half years to receive a diagnosis, which means eight and a half years of pain, of missing out, of uncertainty and of explaining. How tiring must all of that be? Relationships break down because the pain and struggle are too hard to comprehend. There is the misogynistic dismissal of so-called women’s issues and people saying that it is just painful periods or, even worse, that it is perfectly normal for women to experience pain.

There are long waiting lists and a postcode lottery for treatment. There is a serious problem with delays in getting an initial appointment with a consultant, and Covid has only made the long waits even longer. Non-urgent appointments have been delayed because of Covid, but, for patients, endometriosis is not non-urgent.

One person told me that, although their GP has been good, before being referred to a consultant, their daughter had to go through various other options to rule out cysts, irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances. More than a year after their GP’s referral, they are still to receive an appointment.

I have also been told by women that endometriosis has made them infertile, and how the inability to have children has affected their marriages. As many as 30 to 50 per cent of women who are affected by infertility have endometriosis.

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Beatrice Wishart challenges media on reporting violence against women and girls

Thursday was White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At Holyrood MSPs paused for a minutes silence to remember those women murdered by men over this past year.

Later there was a debate on ways to eradicate men’s violence against women. Beatrice Wishart, our MSP for Shetland, who has a long record of helping women who have suffered domestic abuse made a brilliant speech in which she called for a Commission to look at ways of ending men’s violence against women in all its forms. She drew attention to the way the media reports violence against women, often victim shaming and she talked particularly about how they talk about this awful practice of “spiking”, drugging someone’s drink in order to assault them.

You can watch her speech here. The text is below:

I refer members to my entry in the register of members’ interests. I am a trustee of Shetland Women’s Aid.

I, too, pay tribute to Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and other services and individuals across Scotland for the good work that they do, not just on international day for the elimination of violence against women, but every day. It is worth saying again that 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the global 16 days of activism campaign. It has been 30 years, and, each year, the debate exchanges statistics that are unacceptable and horrific, as Pam Duncan-Glancy stated.

The World Health Organisation estimates that about one in three women worldwide will, in their lifetime, be subjected to

“either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.”

It is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights, and we know that Covid has impacted on women’s equality progress across the globe.

Earlier this year, Jess Phillips MP, the UK shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, read out the names of the 118 women who had been killed in the preceding year and in whose case a man had been convicted or charged as the primary perpetrator. It took her a little over four minutes and the list did not include the names of the women referenced in the motion, who were tragically killed after March this year.

The number of domestic abuse incidents reported by Police Scotland has risen for the fourth year in a row, with one in four women in Scotland experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime. Domestic violence is a plague that not only affects women but impacts whole households. Children are tragically caught in it, too. It was seeing the lifelong impact of domestic abuse on children and the financial abuse of women that drew me into my voluntary trustee role.

I know that all speakers in the debate are striving to ensure that women and girls across the globe and closer to home can live their lives free from fear. Scottish Liberal Democrats have previously called for—and we do so again—the establishment of the new commission to look at ways of preventing men’s violence against women and girls in all its forms, to ensure a co-ordinated approach across all levels of government. Along with providing increased training for those who work in education and on the front line in public authorities, we can work together to build better public understanding of the drivers behind violence against women and take action to eradicate it.

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International Women’s Day: Beatrice Wishart on gender balance going backwards at Holyrood

Today is International Women’s Day. And if you are one of those people who find it necessary to ask if there’s an International Men’s Day, it’s 19th November.

So today, I’ll be making the occasional intervention on Mark’s day to report on what senior Liberal Democrats are saying about International Women’s Day.

Beatrice Wishart, Lib Dem MSP for Shetland got in early with her speech in the Holyrood International Women’s Day event last Thursday. She highlighted the problems women were facing juggling work and caring responsibilities during the pandemic. She also spoke about the exodus of young women MSPs who  have found it too difficult to combine raising a family with their parliamentary duties. One of the women stepping down is Gail Ross, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. If the Parliament had got its act together on hybrid proceedings before the pandemic, maybe she and others might have felt able to stay. Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!

Equality is one of the four founding principles of the Scottish Parliament.

It should be at the core of everything we do here.

And yet, 20 years into this Parliament, so many challenges remain. We undoubtedly still have work to do.

In November we spoke about problems around violence against women. The life ruining crimes. The hideous harassment. Problems that just have to be addressed, globally and closer to home.

Of course, those are not the only challenges women face.

Many have said that the pandemic “turned back the clock” on gender equality.

It is certainly true that negative impacts have fallen disproportionately on women.

Job losses and income reductions have been widespread. An International Monetary Fund report highlighted how women are more likely than men to work in social sectors including retail, tourism, and hospitality where lockdown has been most widely felt.

The true value of care has come into the limelight, both professionally and domestically. 

And the responsibility to manage home schooling all hit women harder, without question.

Many people found themselves between a rock and a hard place, juggling impossible burdens and expectations. 

These problems are not new. There is nothing unfamiliar in what I’ve just described.

The relationship between women and work has always been fragile.

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Jane Dodds and Beatrice Wishart take their seats in Westminster and Holyrood

Amidst today’s drama, let’s not forget that Jane Dodds, our new MP for Brecon and Radnorshire and Beatrice Wishart, our new MSP for Shetland, take their seats today.

 

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Beatrice Wishart wins Shetland by-election for the Lib Dems

Great news from Shetland tonight as the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Beatrice Wishart won the Scottish Parliament by-election with 48% of the vote.

The result in full is:

Beatrice Wishart (Scottish Lib Dems)5,659 (47.86%, -19.52%)
Tom Wills (SNP) 3,822 (32.32%, +9.27%)
Ryan Thomson (Independent) 1,286 (10.88%)
Brydon Goodlad (Scottish Conservative) 425 (3.59%, -0.07%)
Debra Nicolson (Green) 189 (1.60%)
Johan Adamson (Scottish Labour) 152 (1.29%, -4.61%)
Michael Stout (Independent) 134 (1.13%)
Ian Scott (Independent) 66 (0.56%)
Stuart Martin (UKIP) 60 (0.51%)
Peter Tait (Independent) 31 (0.26%)
14.40% swing Lib Dem to SNP
Electorate 17,810 – Turnout 11,824 (66.39%, up by 4.31%)

Willie Rennie was delighted:

And Scottish Lib Dem Women’s Girls Supporting Girls initiative helped too, with visits from Jo Swinson and Christine Jardine.

 

A by-election in your safest seat is a scary thing, particularly when your party has caused it when previous incumbent Tavish Scott left politics to go and work for Scottish Rugby. He had a huge personal vote and had always by his own admission fought as himself rather than as a Lib Dem.

The SNP threw the entire kitchen at this because they knew that if we lost the seat, we would lose our status a a group in the Scottish Parliament. SNP MPs from the central belt had been pounding the streets of Shetland. They put a lot of fire power our way but we still got almost half the vote even with a strong challenge from Independent Ryan Thompson who was the biggest gainer.

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You’ll want to get to Sheffield this weekend….

Absolutely nobody would grudge Jane Dodds, our newly elected MP for Brecon and Radnorshire a weekend off.

After all, she has just been through a gruelling by-election campaign.

When I was down there three weeks ago, she had a very strong sense that people were coming to help her and she needed to return that favour.

Nobody expected her to be doing it quite so soon, though.

Since the Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam said he was stepping down in September, Laura has been stepping up her campaign activity.

Jane is repaying the huge effort Sheffield put in to her win. Laura went to Brecon several times as did local party chair John Dryden to whom I am eternally grateful for the lift back from the Lib Dem Pint in Brecon. I wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise.

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Beatrice Wishart will fight Shetland by-election for the Scottish Lib Dems


The Scottish Liberal Democrats have today announced Cllr Beatrice Wishart has been selected as the parliamentary candidate for Shetland.

I am absolutely delighted at this news. As Alistair Carmichael’s caseworker and as a local councillor, Beatrice knows exactly what she needs to do to improve people’s lives in Shetland. I’ve known her for the better part of 20 years and think she would be a fantastic MSP.

Beatrice is the Depute Convener of Shetland Islands Council,  a trustee of Women’s Aid in Shetland and an active campaigner for the State Pension rights of women born in the 1950s.

Beatrice said:

I am thrilled to be standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate in Shetland. I’ve lived and worked in Shetland most of my life and I’m keenly aware of the issues that need to be addressed.

Islanders want to see fair funding for our ferries, more NHS services provided at home in Shetland, swift improvements to broadband coverage and all nurseries being given the resources and support they need to increase the amount of childcare available in our communities.

I will be a tireless champion for Shetland. It’s an honour to be given the opportunity to stand to represent my home.

She was endorsed by outgoing MSP Tavish Scott:

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