Newly-elected councillor Shona Haslam to be SBC leader

Stuart Bell, Shona Haslam and Robin Tatler, the new Tweeddale East councillors
Stuart Bell, Shona Haslam and Robin Tatler, the new Tweeddale East councillors

Following last week’s council elections, the Scottish Borders Conservative Group and the independent alliance have agreed a proposed administration partnership, subject to formal approval by council on Thursday, May 18, to run Scottish Borders Council for the next five years.

The proposed administration was agreed today, and commenting on the partnership agreement, Councillor Michelle Ballantyne, leader of the local Conservative group, said: “I am delighted that we have reached an agreement with our independent colleagues on Scottish Borders Council to form the proposed administration.

Gordon Edgar, Michelle Ballantyne and Elaine Thornton-Nicol - Selkirkshire councillors

Gordon Edgar, Michelle Ballantyne and Elaine Thornton-Nicol - Selkirkshire councillors

“We have worked hard to ensure that our administration will use the skills of its members to deliver the best services for the people of the Borders.

“At last week’s local elections, the Borders voted for change and the new administration will bring a fresh approach to providing that change.

“We have a lot of new members and we are not going to be afraid to use their skills from the outset.”

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, leader of the independent members, said: “I am pleased that our discussions in recent days have reached an agreement which I believe will be an exciting opportunity for the council.

David Parker, Kevin Drum and Tom Miers - Leaderdale & Melrose councillors

David Parker, Kevin Drum and Tom Miers - Leaderdale & Melrose councillors

“It is fantastic to have 18 new elected members with fresh thinking and new ideas, and all of us in the new administration are keen to make the most of the new opportunities and energy of the council.”

The partnership agreement means that SBC will have a Conservative leader in Shona Haslam, a newly-elected member for Tweeddale East.

Mrs Ballantyne is moving to take up her position as List MSP in Holyrood over the coming weeks. Until that time, she will provide support and guidance to the new leader to ensure that she is able to transition into the post effectively.

Councillor David Parker will move to the role of convener, with responsibility for health.

Paying tribute to Mr Parker, Mrs Ballantyne said: “We are delighted that David will be appointed to the role of convener, a not insignificant position, that is vital for the smooth and effective running of the council.

“David will play an integral part in assisting the new administration in embracing the challenges ahead.”