MSP wants closer links with Israel

John Lamont MSP (right foreground) with UK ambassador David Quarrey during the delegation's visit to Israel.
John Lamont MSP (right foreground) with UK ambassador David Quarrey during the delegation's visit to Israel.

Borders MSP John Lamont is calling for the UK to seek to build closer ties with Israel.

The Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP made that plea in Jerusalem last week after leading the first-ever official delegation of Scottish Conservatives to the Middle East state.

Mr Lamont, the party’s chief whip at Holyrood, was one of nine Tories hosted by the Conservative Friends of Israel.

He said: “The UK-Israel relationship is stronger than ever, and Scotland is playing an increasingly central role in this.

“We’re keen to use the Brexit result as an opportunity to build closer ties with Israel and to ensure people know that Scotland and the UK are still looking for business.”

During the trip, the delegation met UK ambassador David Quarrey in Tel Aviv and visited the controversial West Bank Wall in Jerusalem built by the Israeli government in 2007 and since declared a violation of international law by the International Court of Justice.

Back home now, Mr Lamont will this week hold his 1,000th advice surgery since being as MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire in 2007.

Tomorrow, he will host his 999th surgery at Glen Douglas Community Hall, near Jedburgh, before travelling to Foulden in East Berwickshire for his 1,000th one.

He said: “It’s really important for me to make myself available to everyone I represent and make it as easy as I can for people to ask for help.

“Particularly for elderly residents who might find it difficult to travel to Edinburgh or Hawick, I like to make the effort to visit them in their own communities.”

“I also think it’s really important to do this all year round and not just as one offs which is why since becoming an MSP, I hold over 100 surgeries a year at around 75 locations in the Borders.”

John added: “I am extremely grateful to all of the village hall committees, churches and other organisations that allowed me to use their premises to host my surgeries. I know that each one of them requires a lot of work from local volunteers to keep them up and running, and the effort is greatly appreciated.”