Local catch ups
In my work as Borders MP I have regular catch ups with local public services such as NHS Borders, Lothian and Borders police and Scottish Borders Council. These are valuable meetings during which I am updated on key local issues and I am able bring my constituents’ concerns to their attention. Last week, as part of these regular catch ups, I met with Chief Superintendent John Hawkins in Hawick to discuss the work of local police and the crime and policing issues.
Ever since the Scottish Government announced their plan to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence, I have been committed to work with them, as Secretary of State for Scotland, to achieve a referendum that is legal, fair and decisive. In the last couple of weeks, the discussions between the two Governments regarding the referendum have gathered pace and we are now starting to engage in the detail and as part of these discussions, I met the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh last week.
It now appears that both governments want to make this happen and we have begun to work through the tough issues. There is however still a lot more work to be done and in the next few weeks I will be meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond and the Prime Minister, to continue this process. Once we have agreed the terms of the referendum, we will then be able to get on with the real debate on Scotland’s future. I personally believe that we are better, stronger and safer together and I will be campaigning passionately for Scotland to remain in the UK.
As Secretary of State for Scotland, once every month or so, I answer questions in the House of Commons on issues relating to Scotland and last week I had one of these sessions. Unsurprisingly, the Scottish independence referendum featured heavily, with many MPs concerned about the future of the defence industry, manufacturing and jobs if Scotland were to become independent.
During the question time we also discussed the Government’s £1.34 billion investment in the Post Office and the ending of Labour’s closure programme.
The legacy of the London 2012 Olympics which saw thousands of children and young people inspired to take part in sport and £33 million worth of contracts awarded to businesses in Scotland was also raised by MPs. As local MP for the Borders, it has been great to see the legacy right here in the Borders with local businesses winning contracts and school children getting caught up in the Olympic spirit.
Olympic parade and Jubilee service
A fantastic summer of sport and celebration was topped off last week by Andy Murray’s win at the US Open, becoming the first British male to win a grand slam for 76 years. Here in the Borders, we have had our own set of champions in James and Libby Clegg, Scott Brash and Kate Murray and I hope they are able to get plenty of rest after a busy summer of competing.
Last week I was also pleased to be able to attend the Diamond Jubilee service at Melrose parish church to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne. There were many from Berwickshire at the service and everyone gave Princess Anne a fine welcome. It was great to be part of the proceedings as local MP.