Court closures were cowardly

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The debate came to a head recently as an attempt to stop the closures from happening came before the Justice Committee which I sit on.

I was proud to vote in favour of a motion to stop the closures as I know just how much damage they will do to the justice system in our region. However, despite attempts to try and make the SNP reconsider closing our courts, their members chose to put their party ahead of their constituents and vote in favour of shutting them.

This is yet another example of the SNP’s increasingly metropolitan outlook and centralising tendency, and I was extremely disappointed that they chose to shut Duns and Peebles courts. They had a chance to stand up for their communities, but instead took the cowardly way out to ensure they didn’t upset Alex Salmond.

Many people will rightly be questioning whether they can trust the SNP to stand up for them and their local community on important issues such as this if they are so willing to ignore public opinion.


I have had several constituents write to me in recent weeks to complain about the roadworks that seem to be taking over the A68.

Not only have there been traffic lights in place between Lauder and Earlston for several months, there have also been some installed just south of Jedburgh. They have been causing significant delays to motorists and I know that many people are frustrated at how long it is taking to complete the works.

That is why I recently wrote to the Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, to let him know the annoyance that is being caused.

With it being one of the busiest times of the year for tourism it is essential that the repairs are carried out as soon as possible so that the traffic lights can be removed.

Common ridings

The Borders common riding and festivals are already in full swing, and it was a pleasure to be able to attend the colour bussing in Hawick and the casting of the colours in Selkirk over the last couple of weeks.

The common ridings and festivals that take place across the Borders are a key part of what makes our region so unique, and by holding them every year we are continuing a tradition that in some cases is hundreds of years old.

They will be attended by thousands of local residents, and in doing so will bring together communities in a way that is totally unique to our area. I know that each of the principals that have been selected to represent their towns and villages will be immensely proud and I wish them the best of luck in their roles.


I will soon be starting my summer surgery tour, during which I visit every town and village across my Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire constituency.

It is undoubtedly one of the favourite parts of my job as I get the chance to meet people from across the Borders and help them with any issues they might have.

For the exact dates, timings and venues you can visit my website or look out for details in the local press. No appointment is necessary so please feel free to come along if you have a problem which you think that I might be able to help with. Alternatively, please call my constituency office on 01450 375 948 and I will do my best to assist.