David Mundell is Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Bring on the Christmas election

AS I WRITE this week's column everything appears to have fallen into place for a pre-Christmas general election on Thursday, December 12.

I have my warm clothing ready, have some festive blue tinsel to hand and I have to confess I genuinely do look forward to getting out and about on the campaign trail in this beautiful part of the world.

As I've said quite often in these columns, I have felt extremely privileged to have represented residents, of all political viewpoints, in Tweeddale and the rest of this diverse constituency since 2005.

For months most people I have met locally, including voters like me who backed remain in the 2016 referendum, expressed the wish that politicians should 'just get Brexit done'.

My hope is that the forthcoming contest will clear the air and bring a conclusive result nationally.

After more than three years of uncertainty, which has been so damaging to our country's reputation and curtailed investment, we need to move forward with confidence and make the most of the opportunities that await by leaving the EU in an orderly way with a deal.

I was delighted to have been reselected as candidate by Conservative members from across the constituency and I'm happy to stand on my record as an experienced and diligent MP who puts our communities first.

I'm under no illusions that the coming election will not be challenging in Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale and in at least one previous contest the SNP came a very close second.

Analysis of past results would, in my view, indicate that the poll is likely to be a two-horse race between the Conservatives and the nationalists with other parties trailing further down the field.

So for those wishing to halt Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP's referendum obsession aimed at splitting our United Kingdom with all the damaging consequences that would entail I'm the only realistic choice in this constituency.

I look forward to meeting many friends across the constituency in the coming weeks and also have the opportunity to personally wish them the compliments of the season.

More still to do on digital journey

THERE was encouraging news from Openreach last week when they provided MPs with details of progress in their constituencies in the rolling out of faster fibre broadband.

I welcome the fact there is now more homes and businesses across the constituency which have access to the full fibre network.

The additional reach has largely been achieved through the £460 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

But for those still without good broadband in rural Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale there can be a double whammy.

I pointed out to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a House of Commons question on Monday, that some of my constituents were without both a proper broadband service and a mobile phone signal.

In her response, Nicky Morgan acknowledged the problem and said she would discuss the plight of those with poor all-round digital connectivity with operators to see if they could be prioritised more in improvement programmes.