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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 15:02 GMT
Town leaders oppose Berwick move
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick has changed hands between the two countries at least 13 times
English politicians have vowed to stop a plan to take Berwick-upon-Tweed back into Scotland.

Scottish National Party MSP Christine Grahame lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the town to "return to the fold".

But the town's Lib Dem MP and council leader warned it would be too complicated and cause major upheaval.

An unofficial vote is taking place in the borders town asking locals whether they want to switch from England.

'Utter nightmare'

Isabel Hunter, leader of the borough council, said residents would like to enjoy the same benefits as people in Scotland, such as free personal care for the elderly and no university tuition fees.

But she said: "You can always say the grass is greener but I think it would just be too difficult.

"Everything here is governed by English law, and Scottish law is different, so everything would have to be changed. It would just be an utter nightmare.

"I think it would be too much of a complication to go to Scottish law and Scottish education."

Realistic option

Another problem would be deciding where to put the boundary, she added.

If the river was designated as the boundary, it would sever Berwick from the communities of Tweedmouth and Spittal on the opposite bank.

Alan Beith, the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick, echoed her views.

He said: "Moving the border is not a very realistic option and would take massive negotiation and legal change.

"The urgent thing is to give people in North Northumberland services comparable to those in Scotland."

A poll carried out by the local newspaper revealed 79% of people in the area backed reunification with Scotland.

The town has changed hands between the two countries at least 13 times.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Residents explain which country they wish to be in



SEE ALSO
'Return to fold' call for Berwick
10 Feb 08 |  South of Scotland
Scots offer Berwick 'ransom'
15 Apr 02 |  Scotland

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