Borders council transport chief wants your vote ... to be an MEP

Councillor Gordon Edgar
Councillor Gordon Edgar

A Scottish Borders councillor wants your vote next month as he attempts to swap Newtown St Boswells for Brussels.

The executive member for roads and infrastructure, Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, says he is standing as an independent for the May 23 election as he has become disillusioned by party politics in the UK.

He has had his nomination confirmed by the electoral commission for one of the six Scottish seats.

The 71-year-old father of two said: “I’m standing to promote the Borders first and foremost, but it’s like being a councillor in that I promote Selkirkshire, but it is the whole of the Borders I am councillor for, and as an MEP I would also be promoting Scotland.

“If you look at the whole of Scotland, the problems we have in the Borders are multiplied in all the different areas of the country.

“We depend on tourism, we depend on agriculture, including forestry, and we depend on fisheries. These three issues are huge across the whole of Scotland.

“So we have to protect these sectors and do as much as possible for them, as well as making sure the other industries, such as finance and engineering, are accommodated as well.”

Mr Edgar told us why he was taking this huge, and ultimately costly step.

He told us: “I have become disillusioned, in fact absolutely disgusted, in how the local and national political parties are going on.

“Political parties are on a course for self-destruction.

“So I decided that I couldn’t vote for any of them ... I never have.

“But I have the right to have a vote.

“And I decided that there will be many others in the same boat as me, and it’s to give them the right to use their vote.

“If they want to use their vote, and use it productively, vote for me, as an independent candidate.

“I want to help ensure that when we leave the EU, it must be on terms that suit the United Kingdom.”

He also had a pop at the Scottish MEPs who are sitting currently, and at the man leading what is expected to be the biggest-winning party at the election.

He added: “Hardly anyone knows any of their sitting MEPs and you have to ask what have they done? They have been there for five years at least.

“As for Nigel Farage, who leads the Brexit party, he is just the greatest showman on earth.

“That’s what it’s all about, he’s at the front, he’s loud, and that’s what a lot of people take to.

“But there is absolutely no substance in anything he actually says.”

Mr Edgar said that if he was to be elected, he would not stand down as a councillor, because it was only for a six-month period, with the UK set to leave Europe by October 31.

However, he said that if things were to change, he would hope to be heading for Brussels for a lengthier period.

Mr Edgar added that if he was elected, he would be hoping to be on committees that would help the Borders.

He said: “Not many people know this, but the European Parliament operates on a committee system, while Scottish Borders Council works on an executive scrutiny system.

“So I would be looking to join fishing, transport, farming and tourism committees, but it’s difficult as you are fighting against another 736 members, and they will be wanting to select their own committees.”

Mr Edgar joins council leader Shona Haslam and former councillor Catriona Bhatia on the list of candidates.