Borders Euro vote sees Tories take top spot

Pic Greg Macvean - 25/05/2014 - European Parliamentary Election early results at Meadowbank - Ian Duncan, Conservative
Pic Greg Macvean - 25/05/2014 - European Parliamentary Election early results at Meadowbank - Ian Duncan, Conservative

The Conservatives celebrated European election victory in the Borders and East Lothian, holding off the threats of UKIP and the SNP.

The count was announced on Sunday evening, along with reckonings from all over the continent.

The Conservative Party received 9,972 votes, which is nearly a third more than the next best supported party, the SNP.

The Borders Conservative’s strengthening - they put on more than 1900 votes from the 2009 elections - was unaffected by the doubling of UKIP votes.

Voter turnout in the Borders was 35.9 per cent, which is an increase of five per cent on the previous European Elections in 2009.

While many polling stations were very quiet, others had a steady flow of voters: according to the team at Eyemouth Community Centre they had seen a steady stream right through to teatime.

In all, 32,815 votes were cast across the region.

Tracey Logan, Returning Officer (and Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council) said: “It was pleasing to see an increase in the voter turnout compared to the 2009 election.

“However we will continue to work hard to encourage people from across the Borders to vote in future elections to make sure their voices are heard - starting with a very important independence referendum in September.”

Opinion is split on what the main party’s performances in the European Elections can forecast for the Independence Referendum, or the General Election next year.

East Lothian Conservative Group Leader, Councillor Michael Veitch said: “This is a solid and hugely encouraging vote for the Conservatives, again demonstrating that politics is a three-horse race following the well documented disappearance of the Liberal Democrats.

“I’m also delighted with our vote across Scotland, which is the highest number of votes for the Conservatives at a European election in 25 years.”

Despite that performance from the Conservatives (votes are cast for a party rather than a candidate as in General Elections), they are sending just one Scottish MEP, Ian Duncan, to Brussels.

He will be joined by SNP MEPs Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith, Labour’s Catherine Stihler and David Martin and UKIP’s David Coburn.