A GALASHIELS man has been chosen as the Scottish Green Party candidate for the upcoming by-election in the Borders.

Michael Needham will stand in the Leaderdale and Melrose ward in a bid to secure a place on Scottish Borders Council (SBC) on October 29.

Mr Needham works in the “contact centre industry”, according to a Scottish Greens spokesperson. He has also penned an autobiography covering his successes while living with dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Mr Needham said: “Saving the high street has become an increasingly important issue as many businesses are coming towards the end of the current help and support measures to adapt to restrictions imposed during COVID-19.

“People should be encouraged to help save the high street by shopping locally from the many local, independent businesses who have adapted to the current challenges by offering home delivery and other innovative solutions.”

A Scottish Greens spokesperson added: “This will be a strange election campaign with a lot of the normal election activities not being possible for health and safety reasons.

“Michael still hopes to engage with the local community and would welcome the community councils in the ward hosting an online hustings for all of the candidates.

“Michael joined the Scottish Green Party several years ago after reflecting on a future with the impact of climate change, war, nuclear and pollution as key national and global concerns and will be calling for SBC to declare a climate emergency.

"Locally, however, his immediate priority is helping the Leaderdale and Melrose community to a green recovery following the impacts of COVID-19 and considering how the new normal should develop.

“Continuing to work from home will be good for the environment but may result in mental health impacts on people who still need interaction with colleagues.

“Travel in the Borders is still a necessity for many and the national drive towards electric and hybrid vehicles is great, but there also needs to be the growing infrastructure to support it.

“Michael would push the local authority towards increasing car-charging provision.

“He would also aim to protect and improve local bus and train services throughout the Borders and ensure that the operators continue to work towards restoring full or improved timetables following the restrictions.”