Borders council leader Shona Haslam to run for European Parliament

Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam.
Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam.

Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam is setting her sights further afield and lining up a potential bid for a European Parliament seat.

The Tweeddale East councillor, leader of the authority since May 2017, has been announced as a Conservative candidate at the upcoming European elections.

The European Parliament uses proportional representation, meaning seats are allocated to parties according to their share of the vote in each region, so Mrs Haslam, being the Tories’ third choice candidate for Scotland, meaning she would need to secure around 50% of the vote to be elected.

The 44-year-old mother of two, of Peebles, said: “I am delighted to have been selected to stand for the European elections.  

“The Conservatives currently have one MEP from Scotland, and hopefully that will increase this time round.  

“It is a time of great uncertainty, and it is vital that the people of the Borders and Scotland have a strong voice in Europe to ensure that the needs of our food and fisheries industries are well represented.

“Obviously, being third on the list means that, without a very large swing in votes, I am unlikely to be successful this time round, but I can still use this campaign as a way to continue to promote the Borders and Scotland and the views of the people who live here”

Former Tweeddale West councillor Catriona Bhatia, a member of the council from 2003 to 2017, has also been selected as a third choice candidate, representing the Liberal Democrats.

Her father, Lord Steel of Aikwood, served as leader of the Liberal Party between 1976 and 1988 and currently sits in the House of Lords.

The elections are scheduled to be held on Thursday, May 23, unless a withdrawal agreement can be ratified by both the UK and the European Union before then.

Nosheena Mobarik, currently the Tories’ only Scottish MEP, tops the party’s list, with Edinburgh businessman Iain McGill being second choice.

Aberdeenshire solicitor Sheila Richie tops the Lib Dems’ list, followed by former Edinburgh councillor Fred Mackintosh.