Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton is now backing UK Government foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt’s bid to be next leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister.
The Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP has switched allegiances to Mr Hunt after seeing her original choice, environment, food and rural affairs secretary Michael Gove, knocked out of the contest to succeed Theresa May.
Mr Hunt, also being backed by Borders MP John Lamont, is now up against former foreign secretary Boris Johnson in the final round of the leadership election.
Mrs Hamilton said: “I am committed to backing Jeremy Hunt for prime minister and will be asking others to support this very capable and determined individual.
“His commitments to Scotland shows he is the right person to protect our union of nations.
“Initially I supported Michael Gove, and I believe Jeremy’s down-to-earth approach to Brexit is very similar to that of Gove.
“Jeremy has a proven track record of success in government and this stands him in good stead for the future.
“Boris Johnson simply hasn’t the same calibre, pragmatism and common-sense-based approach as Jeremy Hunt.
“The final furlong is approaching, and it will be an exciting two-horse race. However, I believe Hunt’s exceptional qualities will see him cross the line first.”
Mr Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in London, and Mr Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, now face a postal vote of around 160,000 Conservative Party members.
Mr Johnson was backed by 162 MPs, just over half the parliamentary party, in the last round of voting, well ahead of the 77 expressions of support secured by Mr Hunt, a visitor to the Borders in March, and the 75 that left Mr Gove in third place and out of the running.
The final result is expected to be announced in the week beginning July 22.
Mr Lamont, the only Scottish Tory MP backing Mr Hunt, was one of eight of his Westminster colleagues to nominate him at the start of his campaign to take over from Mrs May.
He reckons ex-London mayor Mr Johnson’s status as bookies’ favourite will have no bearing on the contest ahead, saying: “The scrutiny on both candidates from the media and from members will be much more intense.
“That will especially be the case in relation to their approach to Scotland and protecting the union.”