Gunpowder plot date sparks Holyrood politicians’ visit to the Borders

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HAWICK is preparing to host a formal session of the Scottish Parliament – on the anniversary of Guy Fawkes and his gang’s Westminster gunpowder plot, writes Bob Burgess.

But the only fireworks are likely to come from local politicians opposed to the SNP’s finance policy.

November 5 will see Holyrood’s Finance Committee examine the government’s proposed spending plans.

The decision to select Hawick as a venue means the Borders becomes the first area in the country to host a Parliament Day. And leaders of the SNP government have said politicians and officials will visit schools in the town and also meet with local organisations.

Parliament will sit at the Heart of Hawick complex and the news has been welcomed by Councillor Graham Garvie, the leader of Scottish Borders Council who described the decision as historic.

He added: “This is a good opportunity for Borderers to see national politics at first hand and I hope as many people as possible get involved.”

Parliament’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick commented: “The Parliament represents all the people of Scotland and the work we do impacts on everyone so we have placed Parliament Days at the heart of our engagement activities this session. I hope the people of Hawick will enjoy this opportunity to find out more about what we do at Holyrood and experience how easy it can be to get involved.”

The decision has been welcomed by Hawick’s Conservative MSP John Lamont. He told us : “Any move to make the Scottish Parliament more visible and accountable is something to be welcomed. I believe this initiative will do a lot of good in helping other MSPs learn more about our area and what they need to be doing to better 
support it.”

Finance Committee Convener Kenneth Gibson said he hoped members of the public, community groups and school children would attend – particularly when MSPs were looking at how public money would be spent.

He added: “We are inviting a number of local organisations and business groups to take part in an informal morning session of workshops with committee members and we look forward to hearing their views.”

Students from Hawick High School will take to the catwalk with a fashion show during a reception hosted by the presiding officer and the finance convener. Councillor Garvie will extend an official welcome.

Tickets for the debate are available from October 22 – visit sp.info@scottish.parliament.uk or phone 0800 092 7500