MPs celebrate Scotland’s links with Malawi

14 Sep 2017

Scottish MPs came out in force on Wednesday 13th September to celebrate the many civic links between Scotland and Malawi, and the work of the SMP.  15 MPs in total spoke at a one-hour Westminster Hall debate discussing the bilateral relationship, in which the work of 55 separate SMP members was championed.

Watch the debate HERE, or

Read the transcript and see photos HERE

The debate was proposed by David Linden MP and enjoyed passionate cross party support, with speeches by MPs from every Scottish political party in Westminster: Scottish Labour, the Scottish Conservatives, the SNP, and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. 

Every constituency in Scotland has multiple Malawi links from the SMP membership, and every Scottish MP and every MSP is supportive of the bilateral relationship.

Speeches were made by: David Linden MP (Glasgow East; SNP), Brendan O'Hara MP (Argyll and Bute; SNP), Colin Clark MP (Gordon; Con), Alistair Carmichael MP (Orkney and Shetland; Lib Dem), Patrick Grady MP (Glasgow North; SNP), Alison Thewliss MP (Glasgow Central; SNP), Hugh Gaffney MP (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill; Lab), Stephen Gethins MP (North East Fife; SNP), Chris Stephens MP (Glasgow South West; SNP), Paul Sweeney MP (Glasgow North East) (Lab/Co-op), Ian Murray MP (Edinburgh South; Lab), Chris Law MP (Dundee West; SNP), Neil Gray MP (Airdrie and Shotts; SNP), Liz McInnes MP (Heywood and Middleton;Lab), and Rory Stewart MP  (Minister for Africa).

While celebrating the very positive relationship between Scotland and Malawi, Scottish MPs also used the opportunity to raise concern that the July 2017 deadline for the updating of the 1955 UK-Malawi Double Taxation Treaty has been missed (23 references made in the debate) and that Malawians invited to the UK continue to face considerable difficulties securing UK visas (21 references made in the debate).

Responding for the UK Government, Rory Stewart (FCO and DFID Minister for Africa) gave an excellent speech celebrating the distinctive Scotland-Malawi approach and welcoming closer working, and two-way shared learning, between this model and the work of DFID and the FCO.

The Scotland Malawi Partnership thanks all the many Scottish MPs that took part, especially David Linden MP for securing the debate.  It is inspiring to have so much all-party support from Scotland’s elected representatives.  We also thank Rory Stewart and the UK Government for its support, enthusiasm and encouragement.

The Minister for Africa (Rory Stewart), said:

“…I pay tribute to the Scotland Malawi Partnership—genuinely one of the most unique, remarkable, interesting and human interweavings of two nations anywhere in the world.

“There are three things from which we can learn. The first is … the civic multiplier—the way in which the Scotland Malawi Partnership, with a relatively modest amount of money, can draw on all the institutions to create a much richer partnership and be more than the sum of its parts. The second element, which has come through time and again in today’s speeches, is mutual respect. Everyone who spoke talked a great deal about equality and about how we can learn as much from Malawi as it can learn from us. Finally, there is the genius of co-ordination and connections. Since 2005 the work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership has been not to create the connections, but to find them and mine them—to draw them out of the soil and reveal to us that thick web of connections between two nations, essentially putting Malawians on the board. That is a very important part of the work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership.​

“…What is so striking about the Scotland Malawi Partnership is that it has found ways of engaging a whole human population. Britain could do that in Malawi or in Tanzania, Uganda or Nigeria. It is a very exciting way of thinking about how to do development in the 21st century. The fact that so many right hon. and hon. Members are here championing international development shows how these human connections give us the legitimacy and centre to make progress...“