They once sat round the same Cabinet table, but David Cameron has warned Borderers over voting for sitting Lib Dem MP Michael Moore come May.
The prime minister’s comments came during his flying visit to Scotland last week, when he dropped into Hawick Knitwear and the town’s rugby club.
He used the opportunity to outline his government’s efforts to ensure all of the UK benefitted from economic growth and how his party can help Borders businesses.
Asked about popular sitting Borders Lib Dem MP – and former Secretary for State for Scotland in Mr Cameron’s own coalition government – Mr Moore, the prime minister said Borders voters faced a simple choice in this spring’s general election.
“I think the choice is going to be, do you want to keep going with the team that is delivering competent, strong, economic recovery with jobs and growth and security, or do you want to take the risk of the alternative?” he told us.
“And frankly, if you vote Liberal, you could easily get a Labour government, and if you vote Ukip, you could get a Labour government; if you vote SNP, you almost certainly get a Labour government; if you vote Labour, you get a Labour government.
“So to me, you’ve got one choice – sticking with me and the Conservatives who are delivering this recovery. All the other choices could land you with instability or, worse, some degree of chaos.”
Quizzed on what specific measures his government was taking to ensure economic growth spreads to low-wage areas like the Borders, Mr Cameron told us: “It’s this issue about trade and making sure we do more to open up overseas markets and that we lead strong trade missions to countries that are going to have enormous demand for British produce and British goods. All those things can make a difference.”
But Mr Moore cautioned: “Mr Cameron and his Conservative colleagues are out of tune with the needs of our region: they’ve been late to the table in offering more powers to Scotland and are putting our vital trade links with Europe at risk. Following his visit, I hope those points will be much clearer to him.”