In the wake of David Mundell’s sacking from the cabinet yesterday there’s a lot of interest in his successor Alister Jack and what the appointment as Secretary of State for Scotland means for the Scottish Conservatives. Elected in 2017 on a majority of 5,500, Jack made money in self-storage and runs a large dairy farm in Dumfries, so he should be well attuned to the deep concerns of Scotland’s business and agriculture sectors alike over No Deal.
It’s also worth noting that as MP for Dumfries and Galloway the new boss at the Scotland Office will be particularly conscious of DUP concerns about the Irish backstop. Brexiteers are putting huge store in so far untested technological solutions to monitor the passage of people and trade between the future EU/UK Border in Northern Ireland. Yet one alternative solution, apparently mooted by Barnier, was simply to place the border and its customs infrastructure on the Irish Sea, meaning crossings like Cairnyan-Belfast would get a lot more complicated for companies, tourists and other travellers using it.
Unsurprisingly the DUP have been dead set against any arrangement that would increase physical (or symbolic) barriers between NI and the rest of the UK. They’ll be delighted therefore to see Mr Jack join the cabinet to add his opposition as constituency MP for the area in which Cairnryan sits, to any talk of checks and costly delays at this vital port a reality.
Director of Public Affairs