John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland): Thank you, Miss Begg. You have obviously saved the best until last, as I am arriving on the graveyard shift. Time is short and I want to hear my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary’s closing remarks, so I shall be the knockabout act.
The hon. Member for Perth (Annabelle Ewing) said that some of my colleagues should go out more and talk to people; if she came back to planet Earth, she might be able to get on with people better than she does on planet Zog. As for the Tories, the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Duncan) made an excellent contribution, but never answered my question about the Thatcher years. The Tories would abolish the new deal if they had the chance. As usual, the SNP has offered nothing in the way of policies or clear-cut initiatives. I had hoped that the hon. Member for Perth would develop some arguments in her speech, but she was obviously too concerned about people going out more.
The progress to work initiative is important and will prove to be a great success. People with a history of drug abuse have problems and the initiative is about getting them back to work. I commend all the people involved in it. I hope that it will assist and support, rather than preach to and sentence, addicts and that all hon. Members will support this initiative.
I have many pensioners in my constituency and I was interested to hear the hon. Member for Perth saying on 3 July that one in four of our pensioners lives in poverty. She asked an excellent question and received an excellent reply, but I would have been more impressed if the hon. Lady had turned up the day before at the Opposition debate on pensions. Not a single member of the SNP was present. When a Whip has only five people to look after-
Mr. Weir: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
John Robertson: No, I will not. It should not be too difficult to get at least one out of five Scottish National party Members to contribute to a debate on pensioners in Scotland. They did not turn up for a debate on the minimum wage; they did not get out of their beds. They did not turn up for the pensioners of Scotland, and then they have the cheek to ask questions. As everybody knows, researchers ask the questions, not Opposition Members. [Interruption.] They may barrack me; I love it.
Annabelle Ewing: How many questions does the hon. Gentleman ask?
John Robertson: More than the hon. Lady thinks. The Scottish National party would get on much better if it supported the people of Scotland, and did not try to lead them down the nationalist road. It has only one agenda, which has nothing to do with the poor in society, nor with the people of Scotland. After the hon. Lady’s remarks about Glasgow today, I look forward to another 10 Members of the Scottish Parliament getting voted out next year.