Michael Moore’s Westminster Notes

Every week Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore writes a column for newspapers in his Borders constituency. Here’s this week’s edition.

David Steel book launch

Last week I attended the launch of the latest biography of David Steel in Westminster, this one written by David Torrance.  At the event I was pleased to be able to thank David publicly for the support and inspiration he has been to me over the years.

The book, to which I contributed the foreword (but otherwise none of the writing or research!) is certainly a testament to all David has achieved in his political career and, as his successor as Borders MP, I owe him a significant debt of gratitude. This new biography reflects on what I believe to be one of the most important and diverse political careers of recent times and I would encourage everyone to get a copy and give it a read!

Grocery Code Adjudicator

In my constituency, farming is an extremely important industry and as local MP I have been campaigning for fair prices for our farmers in a market which, for too long, has been balanced in favour of big supermarkets.  This is why last week I welcomed further progress on the Government’s Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill which received its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

The Bill will create an independent ombudsman to ensure that the Groceries Code is adhered to and sanction supermarkets if they break it. It will be able to hear complaints in complete confidence not only from farmers and suppliers but also from third party organisations. It is expected that the Adjudicator will be up and running by the middle of next year and I look forward to them getting to work to ensure our local farmers get a fair deal.

Scottish Questions and broadband

As Secretary of State for Scotland, I took part in the regular session of Scottish questions last Wednesday with issues such as the referendum, the economy and broadband raised by MPs. During the session, I outlined the Government’s commitment to promoting Scottish businesses around the world while introducing reforms at home to ensure work always pays, businesses can flourish and low and middle income families receive a tax cut.

During questions we also discussed the Government’s plans to deliver the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015. As part of that, we have provided more than £100 million to support broadband improvements and last week I was pleased to hear news that the European Commission approved this investment under state aid rules. This means the Borders is a step closer to receiving a better broadband service and it is now the responsibility of the Scottish Government to deliver the investment. I will continue to work with the Council in my constituency on their bid to ensure we get better broadband for the Borders as soon as possible.

* Michael Moore is the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

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