Hume: Lib Dems ‘far from dead and buried’

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FORMER Yarrow farmer Jim Hume emerged as the sole Borders survivor of the Lib Dem meltdown in Scotland, writes Andrew Keddie.

The 49-year-old was re-elected as the seventh most popular candidate in the South of Scotland, despite being his party’s number one choice on that regional list, and is now one of only five Lib Dem MSPs, currently leaderless following the decision of Tavish Scott to vacate the helm.

Asked yesterday if he would consider contending for the top job, he told us: “I have had quite a few folk trying to persuade me, but that is a decision for the future.”

He also declined to confirm if he would seek another term next year as a councillor for Galashiels & District, his dual role at Holyrood and Newtown having courted much controversy since his election to both bodies in 2007.

“I believe I have done both jobs rather well, but that, too, is for the future,” he told us.

“I intend serving the whole of the South of Scotland on key issues, particularly rural affairs. I will continue to stay in the Borders and believe the vote on Thursday was a one-off and showed that we still carry widespread support in this area.

“Not only was I re-elected, but Jeremy Purvis was only 1,000 votes down on 2007 which, given the anti-party surge across Scotland, was a terrific performance. Jeremy achieved a huge amount for the Borders and I’m sure he will be back.”

The former NFU president for Lothian and Borders went on: “It is ludicrous to suggest this is the end of the Lib Dems in the Borders. The Westminster coalition played a part in our poor performance and the SNP ran an excellent campaign, notable for keeping the key question of independence off the agenda.

“We have been given a wake-up call, but we are far from dead and buried.”