Lamont: Turnaround 'will give us a powerful voice'


JOHN Lamont, who lost the seat by only 328 votes in the 2015 general election, scored a huge majority over his rival Calum Kerr of the SNP in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

Mr Lamont, who was standing for the fourth time in the area, polled 28,213, an 11,060 majority over Mr Kerr who got 17,153.

In third place was Ian Davidson of Labour on 4,519 and behind him was Caroline Burgess of the Lib Dems on 2,482.

The total number of votes cast was 52,463, a turnout of 71.7 per cent.

Mr Lamont resigned his seat of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire in the Scottish parliament to stand in the general election.

Mr Lamont said: "I first stood in this seat in 2005 and it was my fourth attempt so I'm very pleased. I certainly felt my campaign was moving in the right direction. I did everything I could to get every possible vote and that was reflected in the result.

"Clearly, the Scottish result was very good for the Conservatives, up from 1 to 13 MPs and credit must go to Ruth Davidson, the party leader in Scotland, for transforming the party and our fortunes.

That is largely down to her ability to connect with voters who have not voted Conservative previously.

"She is known across the UK and Conservative Party. She is a credible and formidable performer. It is good for Scotland which is not naturally Conservative.

It has been the case for some time that Ruth is regarded as a good politician by politicians all over the UK. That showed in last year's Scottish election and was consolidated last week.

"We now have a powerful voice in both the Scottish and UK governments."

He said more than 60 per cent of the electorate voted for the unionist parties and they sent a clear message to the SNP that they did not want a second referendum.

The fact that there were more Scottish Conservative MPs in the House of Commons meant Scotland would have a stronger voice in government.

"We clearly have a minority government at Westminster, which presents a challenge, but I'm very pleased with the performance in Scotland."

Mr Lamont is supporting Prime Minister Theresa May, saying: The alternative, if Labour were to get into office, is Jeremy Corbyn, and that doesn't fill me with much excitement, given his view on whether Scotland should have a second independence referendum."

Unlike some of his colleagues in the Conservative Party, Mr Lamont does not want there to be a leadership contest.

He said: "The Brexit negotiations are about to start and the Prime Minister is now in office and she is best placed to do this.

"Clearly, after a bruising election, people are going to have concerns but I'm clear that we need her leadership to get us through the Brexit process. The choice is between her and Mr Corbyn.

"Discussions will have to take place on the negotiations and my objective is to secure the best deal for the Scottish Borders and Scotland.

"I'm not entirely clear what a Hard or a Soft Brexit means; what the two definitions are in the context of the UK leaving the EU.

"The UK has voted to leave and I don't know what the difference is between the two. We need some clarity. In what way are they going to have an impact on the Borders and Scotland?

"What we need to understand is what the EU approach is on all these questions. Everything will have a price tag on it and we need to decide what is best for our country, including the best trade deals, bearing in mind the number of businesses here which rely on trade and farming has to be protected."

Mr Lamont believes that neither the electorate nor politicians have any appetite for another general election.

Ms Davidson has ruled out running for a Westminster seat in the future but has urged the Prime Minister to listen to the voters and take a different approach to Brexit which is less uncompromising. Ms Davidson wants a deal which results in the maximum amount of trade with Europe.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 10:46AM
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