CANDIDATES in the Borders have set out their stalls after it was confirmed that a general election will be held in July.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the announcement on Wednesday, May 22.

John Lamont, of the Conservatives, has been the MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk since 2017.

He said: “I’ve set out positive pledges to deliver for people who live locally, as I do, by creating more good jobs, reducing NHS waiting lists, fixing the roads, investing in schools, and improving broadband speeds. Those key issues are what I want the next five years to be all about and that’s what I’ll focus on if re-elected.

“But it will be really close here between me and the SNP candidate, as it always is in the Borders. Voting for any other party - or not voting at all - will risk an SNP win.

“If everyone who wants to beat the SNP comes together, I can once again keep the nationalists out here in the Borders, so that we can get the focus onto the top priorities of local people.”

At the last general election in 2019, Mr Lamont won with 25,747 votes, marking a majority of 5,148 over the SNP.

David Wilson will run against Mr Lamont on behalf of the SNP.

He said: “Most of you won’t have heard my name or seen my face before and the simple answer to why is – I’ve never asked for your vote before.

“Despite a great interest and in-depth knowledge in politics, standing for election isn’t something I ever saw myself doing – but through this last parliament I’ve had enough of career politicians, and I think the Borders have too. Trust, competence and faith in politics is at an all-time low, and I want to change that. So let’s try something new.

“I want a positive, fact-based and people-led campaign. That’s the campaign I will lead and I hope it’s replicated through the Borders and around the country.

“As your MP, I will fight for you, amplify your voice and focus my efforts on your priorities. I’ll work hard every single day to restore your faith in politicians, campaign for social equality and be a champion for a better deal for the Borders.”

Ray Georgeson will represent the Liberal Democrats at July’s election.

He said: “The chaotic Conservatives and the scandal-hit SNP have made a mess of our country for too long. People have had enough and it’s time for change.

“There was a time you could see your GP at the first time of asking and your dentist still offered NHS care, Scottish education was amongst the best in the world and all the ferries worked. It was so much easier to rent somewhere to live or to buy your first home, our economy was growing and business thrived.

“But for nearly 20 years, the SNP have been ignoring the people who do most of the heavy lifting. You’re working harder but it feels like you’re falling further behind – like you’re being taken for granted.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to bring people back together, putting Scotland at the heart of a reformed UK and fixing our broken relationship with Europe. We want to help everyone who can’t get a GP appointment or see an NHS dentist, support our schools and deliver for business. We’ll reduce your bills and tackle climate change by rolling out a national insulation programme, and we’ll get the government-owned water company to clean up its act and stop filling our rivers and our beaches with sewage.”

Voters will head to the polls on Thursday, July 4.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Tuesday, June 18.

The deadline for registering for a postal vote is Wednesday, June 19, and those wishing to set up a proxy vote should do so by 5pm on Wednesday, June 26.

For more information on registering and setting up postal or proxy votes, visit:

Caitlin Stott, who will be seeking votes on behalf of the Labour Party, said: “People in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk are desperate for change. This election cannot have come soon enough.

“We have had 14 long years of Tory chaos and failure. Now, the people of the Borders have an alternative choice with Labour, on the side of working people, driving down fuel bills and investing in our NHS, and delivering 160,000 more appointments a year.

“I’m campaigning in the constituency, getting the message out that voting Scottish Labour in this election will deliver a strong voice for the Borders into the heart of a Westminster Government, maximising Scotland’s influence and delivering the change we all need.”

Galashiels councillor Neil Mackinnon will also be joining the race to Westminster on behalf of the Greens.

He said: “I am very proud to have been selected to stand for the Scottish Green Party in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk for the forthcoming Westminster election.

“I am glad to be able to offer people the chance to vote for a Green candidate who will put the climate emergency and social justice at the heart of the debate.

“It is time for people who care about Green issues to vote with their principles rather than tactically for another party. We can then keep the climate crisis on the political agenda for the whole electoral cycle, rather than seeing it drop out of sight when a Westminster election comes around.”

Also taking part in this year's election is Carolyn Grant for Reform.

She said: "I am standing for the Reform party in the Borders as the other parties have done nothing for this country in the last 14 years.

"Fourteen years of incompetence and inertia. They have stood by and watched our country decline in every way and done nothing about it. Even now they still have no firm plans on how to save our country.

"The Reform party have a comprehensive contract, which highlights the many issues facing Britain today and outlines how we intend to resolve those issues, and gives costs. I am campaigning in the Borders to bring farming back to the fore, with £3bn worth of subsidies, stopping farmland being used for climate change and solar panel projects and allowing farms of under 500ha to manage their land the way they know best.

"Encouraging front line staff to work for the NHS, the Borders biggest employer, by paying tuition fees and new staff will pay no tax for the first three years.

"In Education, we will ban critical race theory and gender ideology and concentrate on restoring Scotland's excellent education system.

"For housing, we will review the planning system, reform social housing law so people who have paid into the system get priority and scrap the 2019 tax changes for landlords

"Labour has no real answers. The SNP have shown themselves to be not fit for public office.

"The fight in the Borders is between the Reform party and the Conservatives, who will not be able to enact any of their policies unless the civil service allows them."