John Lamont is Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Borders Railway Extension

It is great news that the UK Government is backing a full feasibility study into bringing the Borders Railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle and it is hardly surprising that this has been welcomed by the Campaign for Borders Rail and by local communities.

The announcement was revealed in a letter to me from the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, who confirmed the UK Government backed the study as part of the £345m Borderlands Growth Deal.

A full feasibility study will look in detail at the costs and benefits of bringing the railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle. I’d expect this to look at things like impact on businesses, jobs and tourism as well as the implications of getting freight off our roads as well as what we have learnt from the experience of bringing the railway to Tweedbank.

As Borderlands is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Government, the ball is now in the Scottish Government’s court. This really has to happen, not least because ahead of the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, the First Minister promised a feasibility study into extending the railway. I’m slightly concerned by the Scottish Government’s reaction and I hope that their lack of enthusiasm is just a case of them being caught off guard, rather than any suggestion that they won’t be backing this.

We need to improve transport links across the whole of the Borders and extending the Borders Railway is part of this (though of course I will continue with my campaign for Reston station to be delivered and for key routes like the A1, A68 and A7 to be improved).

London Marathon

Thank you to everyone who has generously donated to my fundraising efforts for Marie Curie Scotland. The London Marathon is now just in a few weeks and training was going well, I ran the Alloa Half Marathon recently, but I’ve been battling with some nasty blisters since then!

Marie Curie does some fantastic work in the Borders and I’m so pleased they have agreed that all of the money I raise will be used to provide nurse-led care for local people with terminal illnesses so they can spend their final days with loved ones and in familiar surroundings at home. Those of us who have experienced the care that Marie Curie has given to our loved ones know how much of a difference this can make, so I’m happy to be supporting them this year.

If you can, please take a look at my fundraising page here:

Advice Surgeries

Once again I will be hosting busy summer surgery tour this June and July. Dates are just being finalised but keep an eye out on my website and facebook page for details. With more than 80 stops planned over ten days, I guarantee I’ll be visiting a community near you, wherever you are in the Borders.

It’s one of the highlights of my year because it gives me an excuse to visit some lovely smaller communities that I don’t get to visit as much as I would like. As always, no appointment is necessary, so if there is an issue I can help with or which you’d like to speak to me face to face in your local community, please do come along.