Candidates face public as battle hots up

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THE key election battleground of Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale was featured in a debate hosted by BBC Radio Scotland which attracted an audience of around 100 to the Corn Exchange, Melrose, on Sunday, writes Andrew Keddie.

The hustings, chaired by Selkirk-based station manager and presenter Cameron Buttle, was broadcast twice on Monday.

The BBC spotlight turns to Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire at Coldstream Community Centre from 12.05 to 1pm tomorrow (Friday) when political editor Brian Taylor hosts a live hustings programme. To reserve a free place and participate in the debate, email your name and question to brian@bbc.co.uk

Meanwhile, the hopefuls in the same constituency will attend a hustings meeting in Connections, Back Row in Selkirk on April 26, at 7pm.

Back in Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, the Borders branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), in conjunction with the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, is holding a free hustings meeting on business issues tonight (Thursday) in the Scottish Borders Campus, Galashiels, from 7 till 8.30pm.

All four candidates – Jeremy Purvis (Lib Dem), Christine Grahame (SNP), Peter Duncan (Con) and Ian Miller (Labour) – will be given five minutes to put forward their manifesto priorities for business, followed by questions from the floor.

Gordon Henderson, the FSB’s local development manager, has already called for the next Scottish government to forge an agreement with Westminster to deliver faster and more reliable broadband to Borders businesses and communities. Supporting his call, Jules Horne, of Jedburgh commun-ications company Text House, said: “Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and so is the demand on bandwidth. Scottish broadband plans need to take account of the digital future and make sure businesses throughout the country have the infrastructure to compete.

On April 28, the four candidates will attend a public hustings meeting in the Old Parish Church, Peebles, at 7.30pm.