Cabinet role takes MP to the heart of Government

Newly promoted Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack plans to maintain his strong focus on his constituency despite gaining a UK Cabinet role. 

He believes his appointment as Secretary of State to Scotland by Prime Minister Boris Johnston will provide opportunities to raise issues affecting his constituency at the heart of Government. 

Since his appointment last week, Mr Jack, 56, has attended Cabinet and been getting to know his civil servants in London and Edinburgh.

He also accompanied the Prime Minister on some of his visits in Scotland on Monday where they met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservatives' leader Ruth Davidson.

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr Jack stated he planned to build on the hard work carried out by his friend and neighbouring Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell in representing Scotland's interests at UK level.

He said: "In everything I do, I always remain aware of the huge honour and privilege it was to be elected as Dumfries and Galloway MP and that will remain with me going forward.

"I am very clear about my and the Government's priorities -- to delver Brexit on the best possible terms for Scotland and the rest of the UK, to defend the Union and to help grow our economy.

"We can, and will, leave the EU on October 31. We will be able to do things in a way that works for the country, forging trade deals around the world, opening up new opportunities for Scottish business, taking back control of our fishing waters and delivering fair funding for our farmers.

"The Prime Minister wants us to leave with a new deal. I want us to leave with a new deal. Mr Johnson has been clear that he will work flat out to achieve a deal. 

"But we need to accept the EU has said it is unwilling to negotiate. I hope they change their mind but we must prepare for No Deal. We should not be afraid of a No Deal Brexit and I don't accept the scaremongering around it, if we are fully prepared for that outcome."

Mr Jack, who has a farming and international business background, won the Dumfries and Galloway seat from the SNP in the June, 2017 General Election with a substantial 5,643 majority.

A native of Kirkcudbrightshire, he is married with three grown-up children and lives near Dumfries.

Mr Jack this week stressed he had no illusions about the challenges ahead but aimed to bring a clear Scottish perspective to Cabinet and elsewhere as the Government strived to deliver the genuine opportunities a well-managed Brexit offered.

He added: "At the heart of my role will be ensuring the advantages of the Union are fully understood whilst engaging with colleagues at Holyrood to help Scotland develop and flourish within a strong United Kingdom."