It’s not a two-horse race, claims SNP hopeful

SNP hopeful Callum Kerr.

SNP hopeful Callum Kerr.

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The general election battle for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk is not a two-horse race between the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

That is the view of Calum Kerr, one of three Borderers vying to be chosen as the SNP candidate for the seat on Thursday, May 7.

A deadline of February 4 has been set for online and postal votes from the 1,240 SNP supporters who were registered as party members before December 3 last year and are thus eligible to take part in the selection process.

Mr Kerr, from Cardona in Peeblesshire, along with fellow hopefuls Ash Regan-Denham from Stow and Alex Wilson from Duns, set out their stall at the last of three hustings in Greenlaw on Sunday. The previous weekend, similar meetings were held in Hawick and Galashiels.

Chaired by South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse, the gatherings attracted over 200 grass roots members from across the region’s five branches.

“The meetings were lively and marked by a mixture of determination and optimism,” said Galashiels-born Mr Kerr, 42, who works as a telecommunications consultant.

“Messrs Moore and Lamont are keen to present the vote in May as a two-horse race, but everyone knows that this is not the case and that they are both running scared of the SNP.

“Not only has our party membership gone up fourfold in the Borders since the Independence referendum, but the SNP is a very different party from five years ago and is going to throw everything into this campaign.”

Mr Kerr cited the latest edition of Mr Moore’s campaign newspaper The Borders News, which devotes its entire front page to attacking the SNP, as evidence of the incumbent’s nervousness.

The article, under the heading “SNP take eye off the ball”, claims Borderers were angry that local services had been put at risk during the three years the SNP spent campaigning for independence.

“Figures have revealed that because the SNP dropped everything, thousands of college places were closed, hospitals faced a bed shortage and targets for cancer treatment were missed across Scotland,” writes Mr Moore, adding: “These vital services are being damaged by the SNP’s obsession with independence.”

Mr Kerr said: “It’s actually good news for us that his comments, however risible, are aimed at the SNP and not the Tories. He clearly knows where the real challenge is coming from.”

All three SNP hopefuls played leading roles in the abortive pro-independence campaign.

Mr Kerr was chairman of Yes Scottish Borders and businessman Mr Wilson, a community councillor in Duns, headed the Yes Berwickshire group. Ms Regan-Denham, a member of Yes Galashiels, was a prominent speaker for the Women for Independence movement.