MSP Michelle Ballantyne, who is based in the Borders, has quit the Scottish Conservatives.

The former Selkirkshire councillor announced her decision in a statement last night (Tuesday).

In it, she states that she no longer feels the party is a "good fit" with her.

Mrs Ballantyne, who is a list MSP for South of Scotland, has also served as the shadow minister for trade, investment and innovation at Holyrood since August.

The statement on social media reads: "It is with great sadness that I have decided to resign from the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

“That said, I recognise and respect the work Douglas [Ross], Ruth [Davidson], and their team are putting in to re-shape the future of the Scottish Conservatives and the party’s position going forward.

"However, as Douglas indicated in his address to our party conference, there are differences arising for some in the party’s positioning on policy and, indeed, its principles.

"Sadly, for me, this means I no longer feel that the party and I are a good fit.

“I have not taken this decision lightly and I wish both Douglas and Ruth, as well as all my colleagues, the very best going forward.

"I’m looking forward to continuing to represent my constituents across South Scotland as an independent MSP and champion local issues at Holyrood.

"While I may be leaving the Scottish Conservatives, I am not leaving the Scottish Parliament and my door remains open, as always, to my constituents.”

Mrs Ballantyne, who set up a manufacturing business in Walkerburn in the 1990s, stood against Jackson Carlaw to become leader of the party just nine months ago.

Responding to her statement, current leader of the party Douglas Ross said: "I’m grateful to Michelle for her service to the party and the work she has done as a councillor and MSP.

"Wishing her and her family all the very best for the future."