Selkirkshire councillor Ballantyne to lead Border Tories

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CONSERVATIVES on Scottish Borders Council have named a new leader, writes Bob Burgess.

She is Selkirkshire councillor Michelle Ballantyne (pictured) who takes over from temporary head Jim Fullarton (East Berwickshire).

A new deputy leader has also been appointed for the 10-strong opposition group.

He is Tom Weatherston who represents Kelso and District.

The Conservatives are the largest single group on the council but failed to forge an alliance with other parties after the polls in May.

That meant that after ruling in an alliance with the Lib Dems and Independents since 2007, they were consigned to the opposition benches.

The council is now run by a rainbow coalition of the SNP, the Lib Dems and Independents.

Councillor Ballantyne was elected at a meeting of councillors on Monday.

She commented: “I am looking forward to challenging times ahead. We have a very strong team and, as the largest group on the council, I am confident we shall make our mark.”

Councillor Fullarton, who did not stand for the leader’s post, said: “We have a vital task to perform, holding the administration to account and ensuring that Borderers are provided with the best possible services.”

Michelle Burns-Greig, who led the party during its time sharing power, did not seek re-election in May.