FOR most electors, MPs at Westminster are the men and women who deal with the everyday governance which hasn’t already been devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
However, Gordon MP Malcolm Bruce has additional responsibilities. As chair of the International Development Committee in Westminster, he is in charge of expenditure, administration and policies of development for poor countries overseas. Part of his remit includes visiting developing countries in Africa, to see first hand what British aid achieves, and - most recently - to mediate in the growing dispute between Sudan and South Sudan.
The two states have been skirmishing over lucrative oilfields, following South Sudan’s independence from the north last year. Both are dependant on oil exports from the fields in question, and dozens have died in clashes on the border thus far.
Mr Bruce told the Times that the two countries had little common ground.
“The situation is getting worse at the moment. It’s a very unhappy situation. We have made clear to both sides that they have to resolve this issue,” he said. “War would be a humanitarian disaster. South Sudan has been wracked with war for fifty years, has hardly any infrastructure and is dependent on oil revenues which the government has cut off.”
Attempts at mediating between the two sides have thus far failed. Mr Bruce added that while military decisions were the remit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, his own committee was busy pressuring both sides into finding a peaceful solution in an attempt to stop the fighting.