Last-ditch attempts to secure A1 dualling

Sir Alan Beith and Julie Porksen with Danny Alexander.
Sir Alan Beith and Julie Porksen with Danny Alexander.

Lib Dems in north Northumberland have secured a last-minute meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, which they hope will include a commitment to start work on upgrading the A1.

With final decisions on infrastructure spending still to be reached, Sir Alan Beith MP and Julie Pörksen are leaving nothing to chance in their bid to secure A1 dualling for Northumberland and are meeting Danny Alexander today.

John Lamont, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Michael Gove.

John Lamont, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Michael Gove.

Sir Alan said: “There is not a lot of money to go round and we know there are many projects competing for what money there is, so it is absolutely crucial that we keep Northumberland’s A1 needs on everyone’s agenda.

“Julie and I will be reminding the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury – again – because he has the final say on which infrastructure projects will get the green light in next Wednesday’s Statement.”

Julie Pörksen has travelled to London for the crucial meeting and will be handing over a personal letter from Alex Gibson, of Berwick, whose son, also called Alex, was killed in an accident on the A1 near Haggerston just over three years ago.

“I am so pleased we have been able to get this final meeting with Danny Alexander to press the case again for A1 dualling. As an MP for a rural area, he knows at first hand what a difference infrastructure spending can bring, not only when the work is carried out and roads have been significantly improved but also by creating jobs during the works themselves.

“And I am touched that Mr Gibson has asked me to hand over his personal letter. So many people have had narrow escapes on the A1 and some people, including Mr and Mrs Gibson, have had their family shattered by the loss of a loved one in a crash on the road.

“Whatever the outcome in next week’s Autumn Statement, I and my fellow Liberal Democrats will keep fighting for people across the constituency who want to see the road improved.”

Meanwhile, Michael Gove MP, the Government Chief Whip, has visited the area to lend his support to Conservative candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s A1 campaign.

Mr Gove said that he cannot recall another prospective parliamentary candidate who has achieved so much before even getting into Parliament, referring to her work to secure extra funding for local schools and her campaign to Dual the A1.

He described how Anne-Marie has lobbied relentlessly and made ‘a very powerful business case’ to Chancellor George Osborne to make the investment to upgrade the A1.

During his visit, Michael Gove also met with John Lamont MSP who is leading the A1 campaign on the other side of the border.

• See Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette as Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Danny Alexander, writes about the possible upgrading of the A1 in Northumberland.