First day in his new job for John Lamont

John Lamont on his first day at Westminster,
John Lamont on his first day at Westminster,

Coldstream’s John Lamont has achieved a long-held ambition by, after 10 years at Holyrood, taking over as MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk at Westminster.

On his first morning in Westminster, Mr Lamont told the Berwickshire: “The biggest positive I’m bringing with me is that I will carry on providing the service that I have done over the last 10 years.

“Many people voted for me because I work hard for the area. I always put party politics aside, and I will be organising surgeries again.”

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party ran a successful campaign based on persuading the electorate to vote against the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum, and it helped the 41-year-old achieve his ambition of becoming an MP for the Borders at his fourth attempt.

We know what the Scottish Conservatives don’t want, but now they have 13 MPs at Westminster, where do they stand regarding Brexit, austerity and the economy?

“I voted to remain, but I’m also a democrat and realise we need to get the best deal for Scotland from Brexit,” said Mr Lamont.

“It isn’t going to be easy, but my objective is to get the best possible deal for Borders businesses and farmers.

“All parties now need to recognise we need to get the best for the country, and cross-party involvement is fundamental. Article 50 doesn’t allow us to try and get back in.

“I would like someone to explain to me what a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit looks like. How are we going to get access to the single market if we aren’t subject to treaties? I don’t think anyone really understands what that means.”

His party leader Ruth Davidson is clear on wanting to steer away from a hard Brexit.

She holds a strong hand in keeping the Conservatives in power and may use it to put pressure on the UK government to fund the Borderlands initiative, a cross-border economic and infrastructure investment coalition of English and Scottish councils.

A weakened Conservative Government might be forced to rein in its austerity plans, but Mr Lamont believes we need to live in the real world.

“I don’t regard myself as a liberal Conservative but recognise the country has to live within its means,” he said.

“The Government should always remember that the money it is spending is taxpayers’ money. Tough choices will have to be made. In an ideal world, there would be more money, but the reality is that money is limited and that means tough choices.”

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Mr Lamont is clear that his primary allegiance remains with Ms Davidson.

“I’m a Scottish Conservative and Unionist MP, and Ruth Davidson is the party leader,” he said.