AS WESTMINSTER continues its descent into the mire and squabbles of Brexit, our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon went to France to strengthen our long-standing relationship with this important neighbour country.

As Scotland’s third largest export market, France is worth approximately £2.4 billion to our economy and Ms Sturgeon’s initiative proved that the Scottish Government is doing all it can to prepare for whatever storms may arise from Brexit.

While in France, Ms Sturgeon also took the opportunity to express Scotland’s support for EU citizens living in Scotland. “We will always stick up for [EU citizens’] rights,” she said. “And we will always make it clear that EU citizens are welcome.”

With 13,000 French citizens currently living in Scotland, Sturgeon called the UK’s termination of Freedom of Movement as part of its proposed Brexit agreement a “self-defeating measure”.

She continued, saying: “European nationals are not only very welcome in Scotland, they are crucial to our wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, in Musselburgh, there is an ongoing initiative allowing the people in the community to determine which projects will get shares of the £65,000 received from the area partnership to address the issues of poverty and inequality in this area. Individuals are able to vote online or in person for the next three weeks, until March 14, and everyone eight years old or older who has an EH21 postcode will be able to vote. There are a lot of good projects to choose from, and it is my hope that much will be achieved in the community. The vote is live at

I would also like to congratulate Musselburgh’s Staggs pub – also known as The Volunteer Arms – on a job well done in being named the best pub in Lothian again this year. I am happy to have this institution of our community duly recognised and celebrated.