ONE of the region's most prolific political figures of recent times has retired.

But Drew Tulley, in his traditional firebrand style, left local politics with a parting shot towards his successors at Scottish Borders Council.

The 81-year last week stood down from his position as a community councillor in Galashiels.

Mr Tulley rose through the ranks of the local authority to become its leader in the 1990s.

Although he resigned in 2002 from the top job and a year later didn't contest his Galashiels and Netherdale ward, Mr Tulley has remained active as a community councillor in his hometown.

Last Wednesday, he announced his retirement.

But also had words for the councillors who now fill the benches at Newtown St Boswells.

He said: "I have never seen the Borders in as bad a state as it is at this particular time.

"If we want to keep the vital services, everybody above benefit level should be making a contribution.

"I would make a plea to those in charge now, that we ask for the maximum council tax increase - my council tax only went up £6 a month last year.

"When there's a lack of money something has to give - and the only way to keep services is to pay for them."

Although Mr Tulley has stepped down from Galashiels and District Community Council, he has indicated he will continue to attend meetings in the public gallery.