Former Borders councillor lining up second bid for constituency seat at Holyrood

Tory list MSP Michelle Ballantyne.
Tory list MSP Michelle Ballantyne.

Former Borders councillor Michelle Ballantyne is launching another bid to take over from Christine Grahame as MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale.

Mrs Ballantyne, a Tory list MSP for South Scotland since May 2017, has been picked by the Borders and Midlothian’s Conservative associations to contest the Scottish Parliament constituency seat at the country’s next general election, due to be held in 2021.

It will be her second attempt to win the seat, held by the Scottish National Party’s Christine Grahame since its creation in 2011.

Last time round, at 2016’s election, Mrs Ballantyne polled 10,163 votes to Ms Grahame’s 16,031.

That increased the Tories’ share of the vote by 16.8 per cent, but Ms Grahame also saw her party’s share of the vote rise, by 1.6%.

Mrs Ballantyne, of Ashiestiel, near Caddonfoot, was one of three Selkirkshire councillors on Scottish Borders Council from 2012 to 2017 and has been her party’s spokesperson for social security since last May.

The 56-year-old, a director of sculpture and crystal company Ballantynes of Walkerburn, said: “Having lived and worked in the constituency for the past 29 years, raised my six children and our built our business in the constituency, I know the challenges both young and old face.

“I believe it’s important politician brings real-life experience and knowledge to the role.

“I’ve worked extensively in the public, private, sector and charity sectors, and I hope to continue to bring my operational and strategic understanding to the political arena.

“I am looking forward to what I’m sure will be a very robust campaign and to making the case as to how I can best serve the people of Midlothian South, Lauderdale and Tweeddale.”

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