Council leader falls in election shocker

COUNCIL Leader John Scott was the most prominent victim of a rebellion by voters against the ruling administration. As was predicted the Lib-Dem powerbase Hawick became the battle ground of battle grounds.

Portofolio holder after portfolio holder tumbled

Out went Norman Pender - beaten by 26 votes on a recount by the Independent David Richardson. Mr Pender didn't hang around for the declaration

Out went Jim Scott - he was blown away by former international rugby ref Kenny McCartney. The ex-whistler had a cushion of 295 votes taking the field as an independent.

Out went Oliver Angus - chairman of the new Scottish Borders Housing Association . His collar was felt by Borders police chief Andrew Farquhar. The independent had a majority of 206.

Out went Anne Borthwick in Hermitage. Voters replaced her with former housing committee supremo Val Robson.

And out most dramatically went council leader John Scott in Silverbuthall. His majority of over 600 was overturned by the passionate Mary Beck - fighting on the single-issue ticket of keeping Borders College in Hawick. There was a recount - but JR was no more.

There's no doubt internal politics played a major role in the day of the long knives. But there's no doubt also that people throughout the Borders had not forgotten or forgiven the education debacle - even if the administration formed by Mr Scott after the departure from the leader's chair of Drew Tulley had "guaranteed" a recovery plan. Voters felt the guarantee had perhaps too much small print. And the issue of a massive hike in the Council Tax didn't help either.

But some fresh blood was fed into the party's veins - including Catriona Bhatia the daughter of David and Judy Steel. She captured Peebles and District East from Labour. The Lib Dems fielded 17 candidates and finished with eight seats on the 34-strong council.

The Conservatives were in jubilant mood. They contested every seat but knew many were forlorn hopes. However their tally of ten will give a strong lever for negotiating a place on the administration - backed by the threat of being a formidable opposition.

They will prefer to have a share of the driving seat. And that will mean talks with the 15-strong independents and no ticket councillors - although some of them will not be keen to have the Tories hitched to any wagon they can roll into place.

It was a disaster for the SNP - their only man at HQ is John Mitchell - out of 15 candidates. The Lib Dems snatched the Forest division from Chris Renton.

Labour's three couldn't top a poll but the Scottish Socialists claimed it had been a good day. They took 25 per cent of the votes in Drew Tulley's old seat of Netherdale in Galashiels. It's now in the hands of the conservatives.


•How they fared - Independents/no tickets 15; conservatives 10; Lib Dems eight; SNP one.

EYEMOUTH AND DISTRICT SOUTH - Michael Cook (no ticket) 779; Michael Norcott (Con) 166. Majority 613. Turnout 41% May 2002 by-election winner: Michael Cook (Borders Action Group, maj 128).

CHIRNSIDE AND DISTRICT - James Fullarton (Con) 614; Aileen Orr (SNP) 446. Majority 156. Turnout 43.7% 1999: Catherine Home Robertson (Ind, maj 182).

COLDSTREAM AND DISTRICT - John Law (Ind) 603; Donald Moffat (SNP) 556; Robert Kennedy (Con) 285. Majority 47. Turnout 57.5% 1999: Jock Law (Ind, maj 18).

DUNS AND DISTRICT SOUTH - Margaret McCave (Con); Roberts de Fernandez (LIb Dems) 416; Gordon Meadows (SNP) 258. Majority 34. Turnout 49.5% 1999: Logan Forest (Ind, maj 149).

DUNS AND DISTRICT NORTH - John Elliot (no ticket) 449; Maureen Ferguson (Lib Dem) 366; Gavin Calder (Con) 365. Majority 83. Turnout 47.3% 1999: John Elliot (Ind, maj 655).

EYEMOUTH AND DISTRICT NORTH - George Russell (Lib Dem) 615; Andrew Morgan (Con) 504. Majority 111. Turnout 46.5% 1999: David Jones (Lib Dem, maj 41).

KELSO AND DISTRICT NORTH - David Lindores (Ind) 735; Meriel Smith (Con) 486. Majority 249. Turnout 48% 1999: David Lindores (Lib Dem, maj 759).

KELSO CENTRAL - Alasdair Hutton (Con) unopposed. May 2002 by-election: Alasdair Hutton (Con, maj 599).

KELSO AND DISTRICT SOUTH - Alex Nicol (Lib Dem) 796; Andrew Thomson (Con) 646. Majority 150. Turnout 54.9% 1999: Alex Nicol (Lib Dem, maj 289).

JEDBURGH AND DISTRICT EAST - Sandy Scott (Con) 487; Natasha York (SNP) 316; Ian Tunnah (Lib Dems) 248. Majority 171. Turnout 46.6% 1999: Bobby Rutherford (Lib Dem, maj 7).

JEDBURGH AND DISTRICT WEST - Hugh Wight (Con) 738; James Brown (SNP) 460. Majority 278. Turnout 51.9% 1999: Hugh Wight (Con, maj 342).

HERMITAGE - Val Robson (Ind) 424; Anne Borthwick (Lib Dems) 389; Hubert Rutherford (Con) 196. Majority 35. Turnout 48.5% 1999: Anne Borthwick (Lib Dem, maj 123).

BURNFOOT AND MANSFIELD - David Richardson (Ind) 401; Norman Pender (Lib Dem) 375; Harry Stoddard (SNP) 122; John Lamont (Con) 48. Majority 26 (after recount). Turnout 45.1% 1999: Norman Pender (Lib Dem, maj 133).

SILVERBUTHALL - Mary Beck (Independent) 526; John Scott (Lib Dems) 502; Jake Irvine (Con) 110. Majority 24 (after recount). Turnout 53% 1999 John Scott (Lib Dem, maj 675).

WEENSLAND - Kenny McCartney (Ind) 664; Jim Scott (Lib Dem) 369; Alexandra Elliot (Con) 299; Richard Cain (SNP) 90. Majority 295. Turnout 59.1% 1999: Jim Scott (Lib Dem, maj 436).

TEVIOT AND CENTRAL - Davie Paterson (Ind) 728; Ronald Smith (Lib Dem) 325; Andrew Loyd (Con) 98. Majority 403. Turnout 52.3% 1999: Davie Paterson (SNP, maj 22).

WILTON - Andrew Farquhar (Ind) 526; Oliver Angus (Lib Dem) 320; George Turnbull (Con) 264. Majority 206. Turnout 50% 1999: Oliver Angus (Lib Dem, maj 847).

GALAWATER AND LAUDERDALE - Douglas Younger (Con) 465; Alexander Aitchison (Ind) 415; Graeme Donald (Ind) 374; John Runciman (Lib Dem) 328. Majority 50. Turnout 58% 1999: Bill Hardie (Ind, maj 123).

EARLSTON, GORDON AND DISTRICT - Miles Browne (Con) unopposed. October, 2002 by-election: Miles Browne.

MELROSE AND DISTRICT - Bill Smith (Ind) 831; Jonathan Hill (Con) 590. Majority 241. Turnout 57% 1999: Bill Smith (Ind, maj 524).

SCOTT'S VIEW - Carolyn Riddell-Carre (Con) 729; Barbara Wright (Lib Dems) 543. Majority 186. Turnout 53% 1999: Alastair Hewat (Ind, maj 108).

ALEWATER, DENHOLM AND DISTRICT - Jock Houston (Lib Dems) 706; John Greenwell (Con) 677. Majority 29. Turnout 57% 1999: Geoff Evans (Lib Dem, maj 290).

OLD SELKIRK - Gordon Edgar (Ind) 618; Johnnie Thomson (Ind) 544; Kerry Gentleman (Scottish Socialists) 143; Alexander McKie (SNP) 127; Guy Lee (Con) 87. Majority 155. Turnout 53% May 2002 by-election: Gordon Edgar (Ind, maj 14).

FOREST - Vicky Davidson (Lib Dems) 669; Chris Renton (SNP) 514; Kevin Newton (Con) 243. Majority 155. Turnout 53% 1999: Chris Renton (SNP, maj 264).

NETHERDALE - Fiona Moore (Con) 317; Angus Mackay (Ind) 293; John Robertson (Ind) 261; Graeme McIver (Scottish Socialists) 249 . Majority 24. Turnout 46% 1999: Drew Tulley (Ind, maj 766).

LOWER LANGLEE AND TWEEDBANK - David Parker (no ticket) 1,113; Scott Smith (Con) 69. Majority 1,044. Turnout 53% 1999: David Parker (SNP, maj 722).

UPPER LANGLEE AND LADHOPE - John Mitchell (SNP) 585; Robert Strang (Con) 312. Majority 273. Turnout 41% 1999: John Mitchell (SNP, maj 146).

KILNKNOWE AND CLOVENFORDS - Riddle Dumble (no ticket) 462; Graham Fleming (SNP) 296; Willie Hall (Con) 236; Joy McLelland (Scottish Socialists) 110. Majority 166. Riddle Dumble (Ind, maj 522).

MOSSILEE AND CENTRAL - Bill Lamb (Lib Dems) 355; Bill Herd (SNP) 271; Carolyne Thomson (Labour)160; Brian Jones (Con) 94; Lesley McIver (Scottish Socialists) 94. Majority 84. Turnout 43% 1999: Bill Lamb (Lib Dem, maj 139).

INNERLEITHEN AND WALKERBURN - Patricia Purves (Lib Dem) 832; David Cox (SNP) 317; John Ballantine (Con) 160; Norman Lockart (Scottish Socialists) 150; Patricia Purves (Lib Dems) 862. Majority 545. Turnout 55.2% 1999: Reid Meikle (Ind, maj 90).

PEEBLES AND DISTRICT SOUTH - Graham Garvie (Lib Dems) 813; Charles Cormack (Con) 460; Hector Black (Ind) 341. Majority - 353. Turnout 57% 1999: Reid Meikle (Ind, maj 90).

PEEBLES AND DISTRICT EAST - Catriona Bhatia (Lib Dems) 829; George Cowan (SNP) 267; Hilary Ballantine (Con) 178; John Thomson (Lab) 139; Joan Rowley (Scottish Socialists) 68. Majority 562. Turnout 54% 1999: Bryan Brockie (Lab, maj 125).

PEEBLES AND UPPER TWEED - Nancy Norman (Ind) 971; Hugh Seymour (Con) 335; Julie Reid (Lab) 260. Majority 636. Turnout 57% 1999: Anne Younger (Ind, maj 18).

WEST LINTON AND DISTRICT - Neil Calvert (Con) 722; David Small (Ind) 634; Robert Bond (Ind) 259. Majority 88. Turnout 59%