A SCOTTISH Borders Council coalition has been formed after last week’s local elections.

The Scottish Conservatives will be joined by three independent councillors – Hawick Councillors Watson McAteer, Stuart Marshall and Selkirkshire Councillor Caroline Cochrane – as newly elected and returning members to form the next SBC administration.

The Conservative group, led by Cllr Euan Jardine, already have 14 seats on the council. The coalition, with three independent members, will provide enough seats to form a new administration.

Border Telegraph: Councillor Euan JardineCouncillor Euan Jardine

Cllr Jardine will lead the new administration, whilst Cllr McAteer will serve as the council’s new convener, replacing Cllr David Parker in this role.

The new administration has pledged to focus on improving Borders communities, prioritising local issues and listening to what people want from their council.

Cllr Euan Jardine said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to form an administration with three fantastic independent local councillors.

“People in Hawick and Selkirkshire voted emphatically in favour of prioritising local issues over national politics by electing Councillors McAteer, Marshall and Cochrane to the council.

“Throughout the campaign, my Scottish Conservative colleagues and I were very keen to campaign on similar priorities, underlining the need to focus on our Borders communities and listen to peoples’ concerns. It is on this common ground that our coalition has been formed.

“It will be a real honour to lead Scottish Borders Council. I am under no illusions as to the magnitude of the task in hand, but I am absolutely committed to working as hard as I can for people across the Borders.

“I am very excited to get to work with colleagues, old and new, on making the Borders a better place for us all.”

Border Telegraph: Councillor Watson McAteerCouncillor Watson McAteer

Cllr Watson McAteer said: “I am honoured to have been invited to become the new convenor of Scottish Borders Council.

“Last week, people across the Borders made it clear that they want councillors who are focussed on taking action on local issues instead of ones who obsess over national headlines.

“This administration will concentrate on fixing our roads, building new schools, protecting our communities, caring for the elderly and vulnerable, and listening to the concerns of Borderers."

Borders politicians John Lamont MP and Rachael Hamilton MSP have welcomed the news that a new administration has been formed, adding that they look forward to working with them on the key issues facing the Borders.