MSP Ballantyne quits council and forces by-election

Michelle Ballantyne MSP 23 May 2017. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Michelle Ballantyne MSP 23 May 2017. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Michelle Ballantyne MSP, who has exercised a dual mandate of serving as a member of the Scottish Parliament and a councillor at Scottish Borders Council since the local elections in May, has resigned from the council.

As a result, a by-election will be held in the near future to find a new councillor for Selkirkshire.

Mrs Ballantyne, who had donated her council salary to charity following her elevation in her party’s list when Rachael Hamilton won the by-election for the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat, said: “It has been a true privilege to serve the people of Selkirkshire on Scottish Borders Council.

“Since being elected as an MSP, I have endeavoured to continue in that spirit of service. But now, after several months as both a councillor and an MSP, I feel the time is right for me to step down from council and to focus on my responsibilities as a South of Scotland MSP.

“I am committed to standing up for South Scotland as a strong, vocal parliamentarian, and I will continue to work very closely with Conservative colleagues on Scottish Borders Council to ensure the best possible representation for everyone in the Borders.

“I have genuinely loved being a councillor and I hope that I have served Selkirkshire well.

“I was honoured to be given your trust again at the last election and it is with sadness that I have made the decision to resign, but rather than let you down I feel it is time to stand aside and let someone else who can give the role the attention it needs take over.

“I want to thank everyone for the support and willingness to work with me over the last five-and-a-half years.

“It has been a fascinating, busy, but ultimately rewarding job, and one I would highly recommend to anyone who loves their community and is willing to take on the challenge of trying to make things better.

“Trevor Adams has been selected by the Conservative Association to run for us in the by-election and I know he is committed to providing strong loyal representation for Selkirkshire and I hope you will be able to support him as you did me.”

Selkirkshire’s other two councillors are independent Gordon Edgar and the SNP’s Elaine Thornton-Nicol.