MICHELLE Ballantyne has resigned as a Selkirkshire councillor to focus on her Holyrood role.

The former Conservative group leader at Scottish Borders Council, was first elected to represent the ward in 2012.

But after former South Scotland MSP Rachel Hamilton resigned her seat to compete to become the member for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire in May, Mrs Ballantyne was chosen as her replacement.

And now she has given up her position as a councillor to focus on her role as an MSP.

Trevor Adams has been selected to stand for the party in the by-election.

Mrs Ballantyne said: “Last week I submitted my resignation as a Scottish Borders councillor. 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."

Mrs Ballantyne was re-elected in the local elections in May this year with 1,081 votes.

She added: "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."