Rachael Hamilton is Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

Remembrance Sunday

Whilst we paused for the two-minute silence at 11 o’clock on Sunday, it was a time when we reflected and remembered those who gave their today so that we could have our tomorrow. The poignant words from the poet John Maxwell Edmonds still very much resonates as we remembered those who have fought and died for our country.

People all across the Borders marked the centenary of the end of the First World War. Across the UK and Europe there were many events planned to mark the Armistice. The Prime Minister Theresa May laid a wreath at the graves of the first and last UK soldiers killed, in France and Belgium, during World War One. French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel also joined the wreath laying. At Belgium's St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, she visited the graves of John Parr, the first UK soldier to be killed in 1914, and the last, George Ellison. The latter was sadly killed on the Western Front at 09:30, before the Armistice came into effect at 11:00.

I took the chance to reflect upon the sacrifices made by those brave men and women when I attended the Remembrance Service in St Boswells. Closer to home, in my own family, I remembered the story of one of my own ancestors, William Frank Robinson, who served as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers. He succumbed to heat stroke working on a railway in Iraq and was taken to hospital in Bombay, but sadly died on October 13, 1917. He is buried at Bolarum cavalry barracks and commemorated at Madras 1914-1918 war memorial, Chennai, India.

Borderlands Deal

I was in London this week meeting with Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP for Berwick and John Stevenson MP for Carlisle, discussing cross border issues.

The Borderlands Deal was the hot topic of that day. The Borderlands Partnership brings together the five cross-border local authorities of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council.

It was fantastic to hear about the enthusiasm of my English colleague John Stevenson. We both agreed that if we are to make this deal a success, we should be focussing on greater collaboration, not only across the border, but also between Governments and local authorities.

Given that 14 million people are within two hours drive of the Borderlands, the need for robust and effective cross-border infrastructure is crucial to the future success of the Borders, and the Borderlands Deal highlights the need to upgrade existing connections to work as a catalyst for economic growth.

I am looking forward to seeing the deal evolve and come to fruition in the coming months.