Time of the Tories as Kerr is ousted from Westminster
Borderers came out in force once again last Thursday '“ and voted in the constituency's first Conservative MP since 1965.
Counting was not long under way when it became fairly obvious that John Lamont had won the vast majority of votes, overturning the SNP’s Calum Kerr’s tight victory in 2015 by some margin.
Although Mr Kerr more or less held his share of the votes, it appears that the vast majority of those who voted for Lib Dem Michael Moore at the last election changed their vote to blue.
The Lib Dems’ Caroline Burgess was a distant fourth, being taken over by Labour’s Ian Davidson as the nationwide surge towards Labour was reflected, in a smaller way, locally as well.
Mr Davidson joked: “We’ve done so well, we will actually get our deposit back from the council this time.”
Mr Lamont, who has finally won a seat at Westminster at the fourth attempt, was understandably pleased, but tempering that, with the Conservatives losing seats rather than gaining them, his party is in a far weaker position than it was before his boss Theresa May called the snap General Election.
In his acceptance address, Mr Lamont paid tribute to his SNP rival, saying: “I thank Calum Kerr forr his diligent service to this constituency over the last two years .
“We may not have agreed on many of the political issues, but I do recognise the work he has put in over a number of important local issues.”
He added: “I’d also like to thank the voters of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk for putting their trust in me. I recognise this is a big change for this constituency, as I’m the first Conservative and Unionist representative in this part of the world for 52 years, and I recognise that many people have made a significant change in their voting patterns to allow me to be elected tonight.
“I promise not to let them down.”
Mr Kerr said he was frustrated in only having the chance to serve two years at Westminster, but added that he would welcome the opportunity to spend more time with his family.
However, he warned that the complex Brexit discussions with European leaders could affect this region badly.
He said: “If we don’t get the right deal, it will be devastating for our economy.
“We should remember that this election was called to provide a mandate for Brexit. Whatever the final result is tonight, that strong mandate being sought potentially for a Hard Brexit has not come to bear.
“And I hope that John will fight alongside people of all parties to ensure we get a deal that serves the Borders well.”
Meanwhile, in Dumfries, David Mundell (24,177 votes) also gained a sizeable victory for the Conservatives, retaining his seat with a majority of 9,441 over the SNP’s Mairi McAlan (14,736 votes).
There, too, Labour’s Douglas Beattie (8,102 votes) beat the Lib Dems’ John Ferry (1,949) to third place.
Mr Mundell said: “I am delighted to have been re-elected for a fourth time to represent Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, and humbled that it is once again with an increased vote and vote share.
“I am particularly grateful to the people of Tweeddale, who gave me such strong backing at the election and pledge to continue to work hard for this part of the Borders.
“I will also be continuing to be as accessible as ever with my summer surgery tour of all our local communities taking place later in the summer.”
He added: “Of course, it will be very different for me as I return to Westminster, not just because there will be a minority government, but because I will have 12 Scottish Conservative MP colleagues ... I’ve waited 12 years for a colleague and now 12 have come along all at once!”