Michael Moore: court closures damage justice

editorial image

First of all I want to say a huge congratulations to Andy Murray for winning Wimbledon – the first British man to do so since 1936.

It was a fantastic match and as Scots and Brits we can be extremely proud of his achievement.

Sheriff Court, Duns

Sheriff Court, Duns

Court in Duns

Following the huge disappointment at the decision to close the courts in Duns, I am extremely concerned to hear that the Scottish Courts Service plans for a Justice Centre in Galashiels could mean that more courts in the Borders are in danger of closure.

Last week Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume and I wrote to Justice Secretary Kenny Mac-Askill about our fears for the future of Jedburgh and Selkirk Sheriff Courts and called for him to oppose further court closures.

I believe that the closure of more courts in the Borders to make way for a Justice Centre would do further damage to the delivery of local, accessible justice in the Borders.

This is why I am urging the Scottish Government to listen to local people and oppose any additional closures.

Armed Forces

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleased to mark Armed Forces Day with Lance Corporal Derek Johnson of The Royal Scots Borderers (1 SCOTS) at a reception in the Scotland Office in Edinburgh.

Armed Forces Day is a time for us to reflect on and give thanks for those who serve our country today and who have done so in the past.

Here in the Borders we have a strong connection with our armed forces and I know there were many ceremonies of remembrance across the region.

Borders Business

Last week the UK Government launched the fourth of in 
our series of Scotland Analysis papers which are looking at the implications of Scottish independence in various policy areas.

The paper on business clearly shows that it is better for businesses here in the 
Borders and Scotland if we remain part of the UK.

This is because we benefit from the UK single market which enables them to trade freely into England, Wales and Northern Ireland. On the other hand, independence would put costly barriers between 
us such as different tax, 
employment and regulatory systems.

These would be especially costly to small and medium-sized businesses which are the mainstay of our economy here in the Borders.

This paper provides further evidence that we are better together, and ahead of the referendum in 2014 I will be campaigning passionately for us to remain in the UK.

Surgeries

My next advice surgery in Berwickshire is in Eyemouth on July 19, but soon I will be embarking on my community surgeries around Berwickshire and elsewhere.

If you would like to attend, please phone my office on 01896 663650 to make an appointment.