MSP Ballantyne back in favour
South Scotland regional MSP Michelle Ballantyne has been promoted to the position of shadow minister for trade, investment and innovation.
Mrs Ballantyne was appointed to the position by Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross following a reshuffle and will take over the role from Gordon Lindhurst MSP.
The former Selkirkshire councillor says she will be standing down from her previous role as convener of the economy, energy and fair work committee in order to turn her full attention to her new brief.
Mrs Ballantyne said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to the position of shadow minister for trade, investment and innovation by Douglas Ross.
“From whisky to salmon, Scotland is home to a wealth of iconic goods, and I am keen to promote our unique exports to the wider world and take advantage of the new trade opportunities that have been made possible by Brexit.
“This role will also give me the opportunity to champion some of the Borders’ wonderful producers such as Broughton Ales and the Borders Distillery which make some of the best beers and whiskies in the country.
“Scotland has long been one of the world’s leading technology innovators; I want to harness this creative power and promote exciting projects like the Shetland Spaceport as well as innovative technology leaders like the Roslin Institute in Midlothian which achieved world fame for making the first animal clone, Dolly the sheep.
“It’s clear that there will be a great deal of hard work needed to repair the Scottish economy post-Covid, but the flexibility shown by the manufacturing sector in making PPE and ventilators has proven that the ingenuity is there.
“I will be working closely with stakeholders from Scotland’s manufacturing and financial services industries to encourage investment from the UK and beyond.
“I also look forward to highlighting the power of the Union’s internal market, which accounts for over 60% of the Scottish export market and is worth £85b per year.
“This reliable trade will be vital in supporting the Scottish economy as we begin to enter the post-Covid economic landscape.
“ This will be doubly important in my South Scotland region as its proximity to the border makes the union the economic foundation of many livelihoods.
“It’s time to harness Scotland’s economic power within the United Kingdom and show the world what Scotland has to offer.”
Mrs Ballantyne gave up her role as a Scottish Borders Councillor – where she led the Conservative opposition group – when she was elevated to Holyrood as a list MSP in May 2017.
Earlier this year she was roundly beaten by Jackson Carlaw in the Conservative Party leadership election, and was dropped from the front benches.
When Mr Carlaw stepped down last month, she decided not to stand against Mr Ross, but said she would quit the party if he did not reform it.