Michael Moore MP’s Westminster notes

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

Armed forces day

Armed Forces Day last Saturday was a chance for the country to express its gratitude for the courage and bravery of serving and former service personnel, as well as the immense contribution made by their families. In my constituency we have a strong connection with our armed forces so I was pleased to be able to take part in various celebrations to mark the day.

As UK citizens, we have a duty of care towards the men and women who put their lives on the line, whether they are on active duty or retired and Armed Forces day always serves as a reminder of this responsibility. The UK government takes this duty very seriously and published the Armed Forces Covenant last year which establishes how our service personnel and their families should expect to be treated. This is an issue that I have campaigned on for many years and I am pleased that as a Government, we have made improvements to the Covenant to ensure that our armed forces are given the care and support they need.

‘Better Together’ Campaign Launch

Last week the pro-UK ‘Better Together’campaign was launched in Edinburgh with Scots both young and old, students and business people coming together to say why they think Scotland should remain in the UK.

As a Scot, I believe that devolution gives us the power we need to take decisions over domestic issues within the strong and secure framework of the UK. It is this relationship – rather than independence which would see the breakup of this partnership – that delivers in Scotland’s interests.

In the Borders, we greatly benefit from the close economic, cultural and political ties of the United Kingdom. The UK gives us a seat at the top table of international trade talks which has been extremely important for our textiles industry; it gives real clout in Europe to fight for the best deal for our farmers and fishermen; and it gives us access to markets which are incredibly important for our businesses. This is why I am backing the ‘Better Together’ campaign because I believe it is not in our best interests to separate forever from the UK family.

Fuel duty

The Chancellor’s announcement last week that the 3p August fuel duty rise, scheduled by the previous Labour Government, will be postponed, is excellent news for families and businesses across the Borders. A number of people have written to me on this issue and I am pleased that as a Government we have been able to respond to people’s concerns despite the challenging economic circumstances. As a rural area, running a car in Berwickshire is essential and this decision will provide a much-needed boost for families and businesses. Thanks to this and other previous decisions taken by the Coalition, fuel will now be 10p a litre lower than under Labour’s plans, putting money back in the pockets of Borderers.

House of Lords Reform

The Lib Dems are passionate advocates of democracy and we have long-campaigned for the reform of the House of Lords. We want to replace the system where peers are appointed or in some cases inherit their titles with a system which will mean that the people who make the laws of the land are elected by the people who have to obey the laws.

Some people have called this reform a distraction from the important task of fixing the UK’s economy but this assumes that the Government can’t do more than one thing at a time – back in June 1944 on D-Day, Parliament was debating the second reading of the Butler Education Act so I think this disproves that objection!

This is why, after more than a hundred years of debates, I am so proud, as a Liberal Democrat, that a historic Bill to reform the House of Lords was finally introduced into Parliament last week. These reforms will ensure that we keep what is good about the second chamber whilst allowing the people, not politicians, decide who gets to act in their name.

* Michael Moore was the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk from 1997-2015 and Secretary of State for Scotland from 2010-2013.

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  • ………………………..I am pleased that as a Government, we have made improvements to the Covenant to ensure that our armed forces are given the care and support they need…………………

    Redundancy notices by first class mail?

  • @jason ‘Redundancy notices by first class mail?’
    Too expensive, they will probably receive a text message or just be booted out the gates.

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