International rules puts team in jeopardy


I was contacted by the secretary of Hearts of Liddesdale Football Club, who was concerned about the team’s future.

As they play so close to the border, they have players from both England and Scotland in their squad. Unfortunately international clearance rules mean they must choose one country to play in, and this has since led to a shortage of senior players.

Hearts were originally formed in 1880 under the name of Newcastleton FC, and since then they have played a vital part of the history of the region. We cannot afford to lose them and that is why I have written to the sports ministers in both Holyrood and Westminster to try and find a solution.

I know the club has a lot of local fans and I am hopeful we can keep them playing.


The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a fantastic piece of work, and I am very proud that some of the panels were made by stitchers here in the Borders.

After the tapestry has finished touring it will need a permanent home, and I can think of no better place than in Hawick. With its unique links to the textiles industry, it would be the ideal place to have it, which is why I have urged Creative Scotland to consider housing it there permanently.

If it is placed in the Borders, I have no doubt that it will prove to be a great tourist attraction, and I look forward to making the case for the town over the coming weeks.


With many areas of the Borders having poor mobile connectivity, landlines can be very important for keeping in contact.

When a phoneline in the Southdean area was accidently severed by a tractor it caused 30 houses to lose connection and they were understandably upset when after several days nothing had been done to fix it.

Despite BT being aware of the problem, these properties were left without a phone or internet connection for nearly a week. I wrote to BT to urge them to fix the problem urgently and to know the anger their inaction had caused. Thankfully it 
was soon fixed, but too often people in rural areas lose out 
in these situations and we should not have to stand for it.


Nominations recently opened for the ninth annual Countryside Alliance Awards.

They were created to promote and celebrate the best of rural enterprise in the UK, and aim to recognise those who are the best at what they do.

Here in the Borders we have some of the best local produce and local businesses, and it is important that we show our appreciation. That is why I would encourage anyone who knows a business that it worthy of national recognition to go online and nominate someone today.