Local SNP politicians have criticised the decision by East Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust to close three libraries in Lenzie, Milton of Campsie and Westerton.

There are five councillors within the board of ED Leisure and Culture Trust.


Councillor Susan Murray (Lib Dem) supported the closures, Councillors Gillian Renwick (SNP) and Jim Gibbons (SNP) opposed the closures, Councillor Sheila Mechan (Conservative) abstained and Councillor Stewart MacDonald (Labour) was not at the meeting.


Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay has written to the Head of Leisure Trust Mark Grant and Chief Executive to ask why and how the decision was reached and what the next step in the process is. She has also written to the Chief Executive of East Dunbartonshire Council to ask what their role is I the closures and if this decision can be vetoed.


Ms Mackay said: “I am shocked and angry at this decision. Public libraries are a vital part of the community and provide a necessary facility. To close libraries at a time when we are encouraging children to read more, and more people will need to access them to use the internet to claim Universal Credit benefits, is simply madness.


“The local Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson has remained silent over the closures of the libraries in Westerton and Lenzie. This week she even had the nerve to pose for a picture inside Bearsden Library discussing what local services they provide while refusing to speak out again closures in other areas of East Dunbartonshire, one of which is Westerton in Bearsden. I challenge Ms Swinson to speak to her local councillor who voted for these closures and stand up for her constituents.


“This is a disgrace. I will do everything in my power to keep these libraries open and to persuade the Leisure Trust to think again. I hope other local politicians do the same.”


The SNP group’s members on the Trust, Councillor Gillian Renwick and Councillor Jim Gibbons voted against the closures, but were voted down. They then put up an amendment by way of compromise to suggest reduced opening hours, but this was again voted down by opposition Councillors and lay board members.


Stuart McDonald MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East added: “The local library is a hugely valued service, and I know the proposed closure has caused considerable anger in Milton of Campsie. Libraries have a really important role in terms of promoting reading, providing public information, and tackling social isolation and can also be really important in early years education. And with the disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit more people are requiring the use of libraries and the computing and internet facilities offered there.


“So this is a short sighted decision, and we need to do all we can to try to reverse it. I hope everyone will contact their local councillors to make their views known.”
Rona Mackay questions Cabinet Secretary on imprisoned Scot Jagtar Sing Johal

Rona Mackay questions Cabinet Secretary on imprisoned Scot Jagtar Sing Johal

MSP Rona Mackay has asked the Scottish Government what support it is providing to the family of imprisoned Scot Sing Johal.

Mr Johal is understood to have faced torture while being held in a prison in Punjab.

The Dumbarton man and his current state was the subject of a General Question at Holyrood by Ms Mackay on November 23.

Ms Mackay questioned: “To ask the Scottish Government what support it can provide to the family of Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, in light of reports that he is being held in prison in Punjab without charge and has faced torture.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, answered Ms Mackay, saying the SG is “deeply concerned” and in contact with the UK foreign office on the matter.

He said: “We are deeply concerned to learn about the detention of Jagtar Singh Johal. Scottish Government officials have contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the case and the Foreign Office has assured us that it is aware of the situation and has had access to Mr Johal.

“Consular assistance is a matter for the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government would usually refer individuals to the FCO’s consular affairs department, which works with foreign Governments and authorities in such circumstances. Consular officials continue to provide assistance to Mr Johal and are engaging with his family.”

Ms Mackay then asked: “Will the cabinet secretary commit to engaging with the UK Government to ensure that everything possible is being done to secure Jagtar Singh Johal’s wellbeing and release?”

Ms Hyslop answered: “Scottish Government officials are in regular contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and I will continue to liaise with them about this very serious case.”


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Rona Mackay formally supports EU anti-nuclear weapons treaty

Rona Mackay formally supports EU anti-nuclear weapons treaty

MSP Rona Mackay has formally supported the EU Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

On Thursday November 23, the Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP signed the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge.

The pledge commits parliamentarians to help ratify the EU treaty in their respective nations.

ICAN, an international civil society group against nuclear weapons, has instigated the pledge signing for parliamentarians from across the world.

Ms Mackay said: “I was honoured to sign this important pledge of support for the Ban Treaty.

“This change in International Law will usher in a necessary shift in bringing human rights to the forefront of the nuclear disarmament debate.

“Nuclear weapons not only kill hundreds of thousands of civilians but are also lived-through. They have lasting detrimental effects on families and communities of survivors (Hibakusha), many of whom saw the devastation first hand.

“I urge the UK Government to sign the UN Ban Treaty so they can stand with the majority of states in the world who have already taken this step.”


Scotland’s Place in Europe

Scotland’s Place in Europe


2 February 2017

Dear Constituents,

I am writing to you about the recently published proposals by the Scottish Government on Scotland’s Place in Europe, with the aim of getting your views and presenting you with the opportunity to express any concerns you may have.

Following the referendum on 23rd June 2016, in which a large majority in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, the Scottish Government made it clear that all options would be explored to protect Scotland’s place in Europe. This was backed by a strong mandate given by the Scottish Parliament on 28th June 2016.

On the 20th December 2016 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the publication of a set of proposals designed to mitigate the risks of Scotland being taken out of the EU. The publication, Scotland’s Place in Europe can be accessed at

The Scottish Government believes that the UK as a whole should remain within the European Single Market. However, if the UK Government decides to leave, the publication sets out a different approach which would allow Scotland to retain Single Market membership as part of the UK. In this new constitutional landscape, the powers of the Scottish Parliament should be enhanced to reflect and protect Scotland’s interests and to ensure the proper functioning of the UK on leaving the EU. The proposals are put forward in a spirit of seeking consensus.

In light of the fact that Scotland’s place in the European Single Market affects so many people it is of great importance to me that the views of my constituents are taken on board. The businesses, community councils, trusts, local organisations, clubs, associations, churches, charities, and each household within the constituency are the ones whose livelihoods will be affected by the decisions taken on our place in Europe.

From Lenzie to Lennoxtown, and Bearsden to Twechar, the constituency has a diverse range of needs and unique concerns. It is such needs and concerns that – as your MSP – I would like to hear about.

I would warmly invite you to give me feedback on the proposal, and to share any considerations you feel I should take on board. If you would like to get back to me on this, please do so by Monday 20th February.

You can respond to me by email me at or by writing to me at 78 Townhead, Kirkintilloch, G66 1NZ.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Rona Mackay MSP
Strathkelvin and Bearsden

Rona Mackay MSP encourages constituents to take bowel screening tests this month

Rona Mackay MSP encourages constituents to take bowel screening tests this month

SNP MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Rona Mackay has called on her constituents to take the potentially life-saving bowel screening test this month – part of a nationwide drive to encourage people to return their test as soon as they receive it.

The Scottish Government drive comes as latest figures have shown that, on average, 43,500 bowel screening tests have been returned in August, but some people are still delaying doing their test as this is 8,500 fewer than the average for October.

All adults aged 50-74 are invited to take part in bowel screening every two years in Scotland. The test remains the best way of finding bowel cancer early, when survival is 14 times more likely. The number of participants between November 2013 and October 2015 was over one million.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Rona Mackay said:

“The bowel screening test is the best way to catch bowel cancer early. I urge all constituents who have been sent a test to do it as soon as they receive it – with it being 14 times more likely to survive bowel cancer when it is caught early.

“Over a million people completed the test between November 2013 and October 2015, which is an uptake of 57.5%. Whilst this is positive, the Scottish Government will always work to try and secure greater and earlier uptake, to ensure we find even more cancers as early as possible.

“Returning the test early really could be a lifesaver.”

Rona Mackay MSP welcomes access to elected office fund for 2017 local elections

Rona Mackay MSP welcomes access to elected office fund for 2017 local elections


SNP MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Rona Mackay, has warmly welcomed the opening of a £200,000 fund aimed at encouraging more disabled people to participate in politics and stand as councillors in next year’s local council elections.

The fund – which will help cover additional costs for accessible transport and communications support – underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for more people from under-represented groups.

Disabled people are significantly under-represented as local councillors – and the fund will back up wide-ranging support to help correct this imbalance.

MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Rona Mackay said:

“Everyone should have equal access to politics, no matter their own personal background or whether they are disabled or not – and this funding will help ensure this is the case by alleviating some of the additional costs that disabled candidates can encounter.

“It is vital that barriers are broken down to encourage people from all areas of society to get involved in politics – which will help make policies more representative of society as a whole. The fund isn’t about giving anyone an advantage, but rather levelling the playing field and making it fairer for everyone.

“I hope people from across East Dunbartonshire access this funding which will help create equal access to politics for disabled people who wish to stand for selection or election in next year’s local government polls.”

School Election Campaign Pack 2016

School Election Campaign Pack 2016

Our School Election Campaign Pack 2016 has all the information you will need to represent the SNP and run a successful campaign in your School.

Find out more about our record in government and our vision for the future with lots of hints and tips to help you along the way on your campaign journey.

Free campaign packs are also available to help your candidacy, which include rosettes, balloons, badges, posters and pens. Please email to let us know you are taking part in a school election along with the address and postcode to which the pack should be sent.

Download Campaign Pack

Outpatient Chemotherapy Service at the New Stobhill Hospital

Outpatient Chemotherapy Service at the New Stobhill Hospital

I am backing the long-running campaign to have an outpatient chemotherapy service provided at the New Stobhill Hospital.

This was not an overnight decision, or a populist, vote-winning ploy. Before deciding, I met with campaigners, leading cancer charities and clinicians and came to the view that people living north of the river – specifically Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Lenzie and surrounding villages – were being overlooked and neglected for financial reasons.

I submitted a Freedom of Information request to Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health board which revealed that the New Victoria Hospital in the south of Glasgow, which has an identical demographic to the areas I have highlighted, offers this facility, as do several other hospitals throughout Scotland.

The Scottish Government has just introduced its new Clinical Care Strategy which recommends health care being delivered closer to home whenever possible. Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, who are responsible for the provision of health care in this area, have been given extra money by the Government to provide this.

That’s why I think now is the time for the Health Board to take action on this important issue and deliver for the people of East Dunbartonshire.

I believe the world-renowned Beatson Cancer Care Centre is Glasgow is a centre of excellence and always will be. But for certain types of cancer, particularly in the early stages, treatment closer to home would eliminate an exhausting, often stressful, journey on public transport across Glasgow.

Cancer affects us all, directly or indirectly through friends and family, at some time in our lives. Let’s try to do what we can to help those affected – and let’s not make money the excuse for not providing the help and care that should be delivered from a state-of-the-art hospital on our doorstep.