THIS week, voting begins for the General Election on June 8, with those registered for a postal vote beginning to receive their ballots.

It has been hardly any time since our last visit to the polls, with the council elections on May 4 returning a SNP councillor in every ward in East Renfrewshire.

I am pleased to welcome the opportunity to continue working with Tony Buchanan and welcome Angela Convery to the team working for the benefit of residents.

Theresa May has called the election on June 8 because she views Labour’s internal battles as an opportunity to increase her majority and secure a mandate for a very right-wing policy programme.

This programme includes the removal of any guarantees against tax rises and fresh attacks on pensions and welfare that would be very damaging to our communities.

The only way to stand against this Tory Government is to return our local champion Kirsten Oswald as MP for East Renfrewshire.

I have been delighted to work with Kirsten over the past year, highlighting various issues.

Recently, we wrote jointly to the Scottish Government about investment on the Neilston rail line, building on the work done by Cllr Buchanan in securing investment in a new metro-style transport hub at Barrhead South.

Kirsten and I have also held joint surgeries and worked together to help constituents who have come to us with a wide range of issues, from social care to community empowerment.

She has given a voice to groups within the constituency and worked hard to reflect this in her work at Westminster, with an incredible workrate that shows her asking more questions and participating in more debates than most other MPs from all over the UK.

Now more than ever, we need a local champion who will work in the best interests of their constituents, rather than indulging in internal power struggles or lining up to support a hard Brexit that we didn’t vote for.

Kirsten has shown herself to be someone who works for the benefit of all who live here and I look forward to working with her again after June 8 as part of your local SNP team.

In the Scottish Parliament, it’s always a pleasure to highlight the work of local groups and, this week, I welcomed the sale of the Neilston Community Windfarm in a parliamentary motion, recognising the benefits this could bring to the local community.

I would urge as many people as possible to attend a meeting on May 30 in St Thomas Church Hall to have their say on how money from this sale should be spent and play their part in supporting local facilities, jobs, and the community.

I also recognised the fantastic fundraising efforts of the Barrhead Tweenies group, who held a drop-in event to raise money for the Educate the Kids charity, which supports schooling for children in Africa to help free them from poverty.

Every week, I am taken aback by the generous community spirit in my constituency and am delighted to meet with local groups and support their efforts.

If you would like to contact me about any issue, you can email or call 01505 331990 or drop into my office at 49 High Street, Johnstone.