Today’s the day for Borders election rivals hoping to get third time lucky
Sitting Conservative MP John Lamont and Scottish National Party challenger Calum Kerr face each other at the ballot box for Westminster’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat for the third time today, December 12.
The pair have contested the Borders seat twice before, claiming one win apiece, and both the long-time rivals will fancy their chances of ending up third time lucky once votes here for today’s UK Government general election are counted at Kelso’s Springwood Park.
Mr Kerr came out on top when the pair first crossed swords in 2015, edging ahead of his Tory rival with a majority of just 328 after polling 20,145 votes, leaving former Lib Dem MP Michael Moore in third place with 10,294 votes.
Mr Lamont turned the tables next time round, though, ending up triumphant at 2017’s election with a majority of 11,060.
The former lawyer polled 28,213 votes to telecommunications worker Mr Kerr’s 17,153, instantly making the seat the Conservatives’ safest this side of the border despite it never having been held by the party before since its creation in 2005 to replace the Roxburgh and Berwickshire and Tweeddale and Ettrick and Lauderdale constituencies.
That was third time lucky for Mr Lamont as, prior to being edged out by Mr Kerr two years previously, he’d lost out to Mr Moore in 2010, by 22,230 votes to 16,555, and in 2005, that time by 18,993 votes to 13,092.
The SNP finished fourth, after Labour, on both those occasions, with Paul Wheelhouse, now a list MSP for South Scotland, picking up 4,497 votes in 2010 and Aileen Orr getting 3,885 in 2005.
Mr Lamont, 43, born in Kilwinning in North Ayrshire but now living in Coldstream, and Galashiels-born Mr Kerr, 47, now living at Cardrona, are among four candidates vying for the seat, the others being Liberal Democrat Jenny Marr, 30, and Labour’s Ian Davidson, 69.
An incumbent Tory MP is also involved in a four-way contest in the neighbouring Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency.
There, Tory David Mundell is up against the SNP’s Amanda Burgauer, Liberal Democrat John Ferry and Labour’s Nick Chisholm.
Former Scottish secretary Mr Mundell, 57, has held the seat since its creation in 2005, retaining it with a 9,441 majority last time round.
Polling stations for today’s Westminster election, the first to be held in December since 1923, are now open and will close at 10pm.
To find out who wins, keep an eye on our website, www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk, in the early hours of tomorrow, December 13.