Council leader selected as Conservative candidate for Lanark and Hamilton East

Council leader Shona Haslam
Council leader Shona Haslam

The leader of Scottish Borders Council has announced she will be running for a seat in Westminster.

Shona Haslam, who represents Tweeddale East and lives in Peebles, took to Twitter on Sunday to announced that she has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Lanark and Hamilton East in December’s general election. 

In her tweet, she wrote: “Absolutely chuffed to bits at being selected as the candidate for #lanarkandhamiltoneast for #GE2019.  

“I will work so hard to win this marginal seat. Only the @ScotTories will stand up for the union and against the @theSNP.  

“Thanks to the support of @scottorywomen @w2wScotland”

Councillor Haslam has been leader of Scottish Borders Council since May 2017, and has overseen a number of high profile capital projects, such as giving iPads to every high school pupil and setting out plans to rebuild the region’s schools.

Her Conservative administration, propped up by a minority of independent councillors, has also funded two community action police teams, which have been patrolling the Borders and tackling community priorities such as drug dealing, anti social behaviour and speeding. 

However, not all policies have been popular. After raising council tax by the maximum allowance of 3% in December 2018, Haslam’s administration then decided to raise the council tax by a further 1% two months later.

The ruling Conservatives have also made cuts to popular services such as grass cutting, libraries and rural bus routes.

In a statement, councillor Haslam confirmed that she would be stepping down as council leader, if elected: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to stand as a candidate in this election in the neighbouring seat of Lanark and Hamilton East.  

“With only an SNP majority of only 266 votes it is a key marginal. The Conservative Party are the only party who are standing up for the union who have a chance to taking this seat from the nationalists.  

“If elected I would have to stand down as council leader which would be a huge regret for me.  

“I love being a local councillor and leader of the council, but obviously could not do both.  But there is an election to win first, and a lot of work to do.”