Jim Clark Rally should not be stopped

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, has announced a review of motorsport event safety in Scotland following the deaths of three spectators at the Jim Clark Rally.

The deaths had a huge impact on the Berwickshire community, and it is only right that we do everything in our power to prevent another accident like this occurring.

However, I am keen to urge caution against any knee jerk reactions in response to this news. The Jim Clark Rally is a long established event in the Borders and whilst everyone is shocked by what happened, I think it would be hugely regrettable if any premature decisions were taken about the event’s future. That is why I have urged the Cabinet Secretary to work closely with the Motor Sports Association and with the Border Ecosse and Berwick and District motor clubs before implementing any controls on events of this nature.

We cannot allow this historic rally to cease running altogether, and any suggested changes must be realistic and achievable.

Thousands of people braved the atrocious weather recently to attend the 2014 ScotSheep event being held at Quixwood Farm. Despite the rain and fog it was a great event, and it was clear to see from it that sheep farming in Scotland is in great health. The variety of the stalls and events on display were extremely impressive, and reflected the huge effort that went into organising the event.

I was very pleased to be able to welcome the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Postmaster General, to the event. I know that he was keen to hear first-hand about what the UK and Scottish Governments could be doing for our sheep farmers, and I know that those he spoke to appreciated the chance to give their views on the current state of Scottish farming.

To host this show in the Borders is a privilege, and we were incredibly lucky to have such a world class event on our doorstep this year. My thanks go to the organisers, all the marshalls who volunteered on the day to help out and to the Macfarlane family for sacrificing their time and effort in hosting the show at their superb farm.

I hold surgeries every week throughout my constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire. To check when I will next be hosting one in your area, simply visit my website, www.johnlamont.org for more information. 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. Call 01450375948 and I will do my best to assist.