Councillors vote for Clovenfords stay put

COUNCILLORS have voted against Clovenfords being included in a Midlothian constituency, writes Sally Gillespie.

Scottish Borders Council last Thursday decided on a response to proposals by the Boundary Commission for Scotland recommending Tweeddale West and East wards, which stretch from West Linton to Clovenfords, come under a Midlothian seat.

But while one Tweeddale East councillor, Gavin Logan, proposed Clovenfords remains in the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency, he was opposed by fellow ward councillor Graham Garvie, who moved that the council accept the commission recommendations.

Councillor Logan’s motion was seconded by Councillor Fiona Lackenby and triumphed by 25 votes to the six that Councillor Garvie’s opposition, seconded by Councillor Catriona Bhatia, garnered.

Describing the inclusion of Clovenfords in a Midlothian seat covering Penicuik and Dalkeith as illogical, Councillor Logan said the village, three miles from Galashiels, has strong ties with the Borders town, using its shops, doctors, dentists and undertaking leisure activities there.

“I was born in Galashiels and have spent most of my life in Clovenfords and I, like every resident I have met recently, wish to be represented by a Member of Parliament who is familiar with the problems of the Borders, rather than one whose main interest must be the more populated part of the proposed constituency in Midlothian.

“There are strong historic, economic, social and cultural ties (with Galashiels) and none with Midlothian. Clovenfords has been part of Selkirkshire for centuries and has no connection with Midlothian, and we must try and keep it that way.”

Speaking after the meeting, he told TheSouthern: “I am delighted my motion was carried with such a large majority. The residents of Clovenfords can also express their desire for a Borders-based MP by writing or emailing the boundary commission. Westminster is remote, so it is doubly important having a local voice speaking for us.”

SBC will now put forward its view to the commission before January 4.

The commission has been tasked with reducing Scottish constituencies from 59 to 52 with areas of up to 13,000 sq km.

After another consultation, the commission will prepare revised proposals which are expected to be made public for a final eight-week consultation period in 2012.

The commission’s final recommendations will then be submitted to the Secretary of State.