BORDERS Lib Dem MP Michael Moore has admitted his party’s showing at last week’s Euro elections – and in a local council ward – was “very disappointing”.
“The results reflect a poor night for the party across the country,” said Mr Moore, who will defend his Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat at next year’s General Election.
In the Scottish Borders Council area, the Conservatives emerged as the leading party in the European Parliament election, the votes for which were counted manually in Tweedbank on Sunday evening.
The turnout in the Borders was 35.9% - up around 5% on 2010 – and there were 32,815 votes cast.
The Tories polled 9,972 votes, with the SNP coming second with 6,775. The Lib Dems were third with 5,465 closely followed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) with 4,058.
Other parties fared as follows: Scottish Green Party 2,459; Britain First 284; British National Party 224; NO2EU 130.
Across Scotland, which returns six MEPs, the SNP won 386,193 votes (29%), with Labour second on 346,377 (25.9%, the Conservatives third with 230, 569 (17.2%), UKIP fourth on 139,687 (10.4%), the Scottish Greens fifth with 107,805 – and the Lib Dems languishing in sixth place on 95,076 (7%).
As a result, the Lib Dems have lost their one Scottish MEP – George Lyon - while the SNP and Labour continue to two MEPs each, the Conservatives have one and, for the first time, UKIP has a Scottish MEP in businessman David Coburn who was parachuted in after running his party’s London region.
As reported on this page, the Lib Dem candidate in the Hawick and Denholm by-election – Ian Turnbull – failed to be elected to Scottish Borders Council, coming third in first preference votes.
Mr Moore declined to comment on the implications of the shift to the right – as evidenced by the performance of UKIP which grabbed 13% of the Euro vote in the Borders – on his party’s prospects at next year’s General Election.
He also chose not to respond to a Border Telegraph enquiry about the online campaign within his party to remove leader Nick Clegg.
Instead, he told us: “These results are very disappointing, reflecting a poor night for the party across the country.
“In Ian Turnbull in Hawick and Denholm and George Lyon for Europe, we had two first class candidates whom I wish to thank for their tireless efforts in the campaign.
“Now, after the campaigning, I am getting on with my work on local matters and at Westminster. I will continue to work hard for the Borders, working alongside others to do the best for my constituents.” Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie MSP was more forthcoming on the reasons for his party’s electoral slump.
“We continue to pay the price for being on coalition and for the decisions we have taken in government…I get that,” said Mr Rennie.