General Election: The Borders turns blue
The Conservative Party may be struggling in the war with a hung parliament, but they certainly won the battle of the Borders.
As widely expected, both John Lamont and Rachael Hamilton won their respective seats (Lamont in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk for Westminster and Hamilton in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, the Holyrood seat left vacant by Lamont) however, their massive margin of victory is perhaps the biggest surprise.
While Theresa May’s “strong and stable” leadership looks decidedly frail and fragile, if the Conservatives are able to form a Gorvernment, Mr Lamont must now find himself a place in that establishment.
He told us: “My team has worked so hard and they have put their trust in me and I promise to work as hard as I can to get the best deal for the Borders.
“The results are still unfolding nationwide and there are big regional variations in Scotland and there have been some sensational results, with big scalps off the SNP, and it’s clearly going to change the landscape of Scottish politics.”
The SNP’s Calum Kerr left his Westminster role in the same way as he started it, with a smile.
He told us: “I’m disappointed of course, it’s been a real honour and a priviledge to serve the area that I was born in and that I have chosen to bring my own family up in, where I call home, especially here in Kelso where my mum and dad and extended family are from.
“I’m very proud of the last couple of years and I’m proud of how we did in the election ... to get 17,000 votes and 32% is still something I am very proud of.
“It is difficult when you are disappointed to lose to keep perspective, but we were fourth repeatedly, on about eight to nine per cent for years and this is a huge leap forward in the Borders and it shows there is a real appetitite here for the kind of support and belief system that we have.”
Mrs Hamilton extended the Tories’ majority in the by-election seat, having left her role as a list MSP for the south of Scotland to stand.
She said: “I have big shoes to fill, following John Lamont into this role and I promise John that I won’t let him down, and I won’t let this constituency down.
“I work hard, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves to do the best for the Borders.”
While Labour made a small gain (candidate Ian Davidson declaring they were going to get their refund back from Scottish Borders Council this time), it was another very bad day for the Liberal Democrats, with most of their voters opting to go with the Tories, which led to the big majority.
Indeed, the Lib Dems finished fourth and last in each seat.
In Dumfries, Scottish Secretary David Mundell increased his hold on the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency, beating Mairi McAllan by a large margin.
The results were as follows:
General Election: Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency
Burgess, Caroline Eleanor (Lib Dem) 2482
Davidson, Ian Graham (Labour) 4519
Kerr, Calum (SNP) 17,153
Lamont, John (CON) 28,213
CON GAIN: majority 11,060
Total turnout: 73,191 (71.7%) (2015 - 74%)
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale constituency
Mundell, David (Con) 24,177
McAllan, Mairi (SNP) 14,736
Beattie, Douglas (Lab) 8,102
Ferry, John (Lib Dem) 1,949
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire by-election
Bhatia, Catriona (Lib Dem) 3,196
Hamilton, Rachael (Con) 20,658
Hendry, Gail (SNP) 11,320
Prentice, Sally (Lab) 3,406
CON HOLD: Majority 9338.
Turnout 55,395 (69.8%) (2016 - 61%)