Peer backs Borders rugby legend’s calls for more research into disease

Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir.
Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir.

Former Borders MP David Steel, now Lord Steel of Aikwood, is backing Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir’s calls for more research to be carried out into motor neurone disease.

The ex-Melrose lock forward, diagnosed with the disease in December last year, last month told the Southern of his frustration that no new drugs had been produced to treat the condition for over two decades, and that case has now been taken up by the Liberal Democrat peer.

Lord Steel of Aikwood.

Lord Steel of Aikwood.

The 79-year-old – MP for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles from 1965 to 1983 and for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale from 1983 to 1997 – has tabled a written question in the House of Lords asking the UK Government “what assessment they have made of the comments by Doddie Weir concerning his frustration that there have been no new drugs to treat motor neurone disease developed in the last 22 years and what steps they are taking to promote research into such treatments”.

The Government is expected to give its response to the former Scottish Parliament presiding officer, now living in Selkirk, within the next week.

Weir, of Blainslie, near Lauder, told the Southern: “To have no new drugs in 22 years for a terminal illness, and for there to have been no trials in Scotland to try to find a cure, is frustrating.”

The 47-year-old, capped 61 times for Scotland, last month launched a charity, called My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, to try to redress that lack of research.

Weir, now employed as commercial director at Hutchinson Environmental Solutions at Blainslie, added: “I’m trying to see if I can make a difference, and that’s where I am.

“Hopefully, I can in some small shape or form.

“It is frustrating that there has been so little progress over the last two decades.

“I want to push the need for research into MND further up the agenda. We may be too late in finding something that can help me, but I am committed to doing everything I can to help find a cure.”

For more details, go to www.myname5doddie.co.uk