TODAY voters in the Borders are heading to the polls to decide the region's next MP.

As part of our election coverage we invited this year's candidates in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk to make their final pitch to voters before polling stations open tomorrow (July 4).

Voting opened at 7am with polling stations closing at 10pm tonight (July 4).

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website tonight as we will be reporting live from the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk count at the Borders Events Centre in Kelso.

Ray Georgeson, Liberal Democrats

Photo: Ray Georgeson
Many people have told me that you are tired of the chaotic Tories in Westminster and the scandal-hit SNP (and their Green friends) in Holyrood. You haven’t forgotten Partygate, PPE contracts for their pals, the shocking waste of money on Test and Trace, or the Holyrood expenses and Tory gambling scandals even in recent days. It’s time for change, locally and in Parliament.

Liberal Democrats have a bold, ambitious and fully costed plan to save the NHS and fix the care crisis. We need to value paid and unpaid care and invest to relieve pressure on beds in the NHS. We must protect our local community hospitals but make sure they are available for clinical purposes, building capacity for care in the community. This is central to our plan which would improve our mental and physical health, investing £9bn in health and social care, paid for through clawing back the tax cuts the Tories gave to the big banks, and changing Capital Gains Tax, closing loopholes used by the super-wealthy.

Our proposals look to the future with optimism. We will tackle the climate crisis, starting with an emergency programme of home insulation, saving you money and reducing emissions. We can transform our economy, speed up investments in the green, skilled jobs of the future – jobs that will be well paid and will last. We will tackle the housing crisis that is sharp in the Borders, building affordable, low-carbon homes that are cheaper to run – fit for the future.

So much more is needed – better bus services, tackling potholes and crumbling public infrastructure and rebuilding a country to be proud of again. The old guard are out of ideas and out of time. I will be a strong voice for the Borders in Westminster, with your future as my priority.

John Lamont, Scottish Conservatives

Photo: John LamontPhoto: John Lamont
I want the next five years to be all about creating good jobs, supporting small businesses, reducing NHS waiting times, faster GP appointments, helping local farmers, investing in schools, improving broadband speeds, building a better bus network, extending the Borders Railway and fixing the roads.

That's what I'll focus on if re-elected. I'll spend the next five years working hard to deliver local action on those issues because I know that's what matters most to you.

I've set out positive pledges to deliver a brighter future for the Borders. My plans would benefit everyone who lives locally, as I do, by boosting our economy and improving our public services.

But to get all the attention onto delivering action for the Borders, I need your help to beat the SNP in this election.

We know what the SNP would do if they win here – obsess about independence. John Swinney has already said he will claim every seat – including this one in the Borders – as a "mandate" to demand independence.

So if the SNP win, they'll be distracted from the day job. They'll focus on independence at the expense of everything else.

But you have the opportunity to stop that from happening. With your vote, I can once again keep the nationalists out here in the Borders, so that we can get the focus onto your top priorities.

It's a straight fight here between me and the SNP – and it's always really close in the Borders.

A vote for any other party – or not voting at all – risks an SNP win.

The power is in your hands. Your vote will decide what the next five years is all about.

Vote for me to beat the SNP and let's get all of the focus onto the issues that really matter to you.

David Wilson, SNP

Photo: David WilsonPhoto: David Wilson (Image: David Wilson)

From talking to voters all over the constituency throughout this campaign there are two things I can agree with the Conservative candidate on. It is a choice between the SNP and the Conservatives and the election result is on a knife edge. The result will solely come down to turnout – to whose supporters have chosen to submit a postal ballot or turn out to vote on July 4. It’s very much all to play for.

I can understand why voters may not want to bother turning out, faith and trust in Westminster politicians is at an all-time low and given everything that has happened since 2019 it is hardly a surprise that this is the case.

So, I’m asking voters across the Borders to turn out and to try something new. To elect an MP who hasn’t spent their entire career trying to become a politician. If you’d told me two years ago I would be asking for your vote I probably would have laughed and shrugged you off. However, I am just as frustrated as you with Westminster politicians putting their careers and their party quest for power above the constituents they are supposed to represent. That is why I’m standing.

An SNP MP has two purposes; to fight for their constituents and to stand up for Scotland.

If I’m elected that is what I will do. Fight for the issues that matter to Borderers; champion the causes that make a difference; defend the farmers and businesses that should be thriving here; protect the Public Services we all rely on; and be the voice we need at Westminster. I will spend this parliamentary term working for you, for a better deal for the Borders and for Scotland.

Neil MacKinnon, Scottish Greens

Photo: Neil MacKinnonPhoto: Neil MacKinnon (Image: Neil MacKinnon)
According to climate scientists the last 12 months were the hottest in the last 100,000 years and all the evidence shows that the rate of change is accelerating, with the increased risk of irreversible damage to our environment. We are in the last chance saloon when it comes to taking decisive action to reverse this, none of the other parties are willing to tackle this head on but the Scottish Greens are.

I am a proud Borderer and if elected would serve my region to the best of my ability in Westminster, and while the NHS, cost of living and education are all important topics (that the Scottish Greens have very good policies to tackle) we have to lift our head from this and look at the bigger picture, without a viable planet none of this matters.

If you care about people and planet send a message to Westminster that the climate emergency is very much an issue for people in the Borders.

A Green vote delivers a fairer Scotland. We have proposed a wealth tax on the richest 1 per cent, which would raise over £70 billion for our NHS, schools and other vital public services across the UK. A Green vote is a vote for an independent Scotland that rejoins the European Union. Here in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk a Green vote means a commitment to tackling the Climate Emergency

On Thursday please vote like your future depends on it, vote Green.

Caitlin Stott, Scottish Labour

Photo: Caitlin StottPhoto: Caitlin Stott
Sometimes it feels like things in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk have always been the same. People speak to me about low wages, crumbling health services, and our friends, neighbours and family struggling to get by while SNP and Tory governments fight amongst themselves instead of concentrating on making things better.

It’s true that for a long time Labour has not had a strong showing in Berwickshire. However, in this election things have changed and this seat is now a three way marginal. In terms of votes, all of the main parties are within five per cent of each other. That means that Labour is now a real and viable alternative to years of Conservative and SNP rule.

We can’t risk five more years of Tory chaos. We must deliver change.

Scottish Labour will help working people and families and start to repair the damage done by the Tories and SNP. We’ll close tax loopholes to cut NHS waiting times. Labour will also tax the excess profits of oil and gas giants to create jobs and lower household bills. And we’ll give 200,000 people in Scotland a pay rise, make work pay and give workers more rights and job security.

I'm ready to work hard for people here, making sure their voices are heard at the heart of a Labour government. If I’m elected, I’ll spend my time working to support the NHS, cutting fuel bills, securing investment to public services and delivering a real living wage.

My opponents want to keep things as they’ve always been. But in this election every single vote will count. For the first time, Labour has a real chance to deliver the change people in the Borders need.

I'm asking you to please be part of that change the Borders needs and vote Labour on July 4.

Ellie Merton, Independent

Photo: Ellie MertonPhoto: Ellie Merton
Which candidate do you want working for you as your backbench MP?

Whichever party forms the next government and official opposition in Westminster, none of us candidates for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk will be on a front bench.

Six of us are Westminster novices or “electoral cannon fodder”. One is a current government minister shortly to lose government office.

I stand out, however, as the only candidate with independent strength and ability to work cross-party in Westminster and Whitehall to get things done for constituents and constituents alone.

My experience in human and civil rights campaigning on issues like Palestine, NHS, long Covid, music stands me in good stead. I’m lucky to have friends and colleagues throughout Westminster and Whitehall, but I value above all my pals living with me in local DWP claimant land. My strength as a candidate comes from having lived in both worlds: decades working as a city secretary, and the Covid years, forced to live off benefits.

I have a track record of using my freedom from party dogma to roam the corridors of power, working with people of all political persuasions and none: cajoling, persuading, encouraging to get things done where others have no courage, gumption or initiative.

I am brave and resolute even in the face of abusive authority, finding ways to get through to decision makers to repair systems for whomever I am serving at the time, collectively creating better living conditions for all.

I believe my skills, tenacity and complete focus on delivering effective solutions for constituents’ concerns, make me the best person to be your new backbench MP.

Join me in bringing about my ambitious manifesto to make Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk the best place in UK to live, work, learn, thrive and visit by voting for me, Ellie Merton, to be your backbench MP.

Hamish Goldie-Scot, Scottish Family Party

PhotoPhoto: Hamish Goldie-Scot
Born and raised in Edinburgh, and resident in the Borders for 25 years, I joined the Scottish Family Party in 2022 after concluding that I could not in good conscience vote for any of the other parties. It is not that I have anything against the other candidates, whom I respect. Rather it is that other parties do not allow their candidates, or at times even their members, to discuss some issues in an open and informed manner.

This helps explain why the Scottish Family party draws its support from across the political spectrum, from centre left to centre right, irrespective of a supporter’s view on independence, or of their background, experience, or personal circumstances. What unites us is our belief that public policy should be based on evidence of what works, competence in doing the basics well, and timeless underlying values – rather than on expediency or fashionable ideology.

Though socially conservative, we embrace positive change, tolerance and inclusivity. Our manifesto, available at addresses many areas of policy.

At the heart of our values is a recognition that strong families make for a strong nation. Family instability contributes to many problems including drug abuse, criminality, depression, poor educational outcomes and a shortage of housing. Transparency and free speech can help shine a light on where solutions may lie.

Through a small local business, I work internationally to help diverse stakeholder groups come together to solve seemingly intractable problems related to poverty, the environment, and public infrastructure. This is relevant to the practical challenges being faced by many in the Borders.

If you agree with what the Scottish Family Party is trying to achieve, then please give me your vote. This would signal support for those of goodwill working together to learn lessons and help shape a better future.

Carolyn Grant, Reform Party

Photo: Carolyn GrantPhoto: Carolyn Grant
This country faces a great challenge at this general election, more than it has before. The country is broken, almost bankrupt and Reform have put together a contract which outlines exactly how it intends to save Britain.

We have to look beyond our usual political loyalties and look closely at how this country has been run for the last 10-15 years.

The SNP and the Conservatives have been a disaster in government for the last 10-15 years. The SNP have allowed the administration of Scotland to drift while constantly calling for independence. They have destroyed our once great education system, introduced the much maligned and mocked Hate Crime Bill and allowed the highest drug death rates in Scottish history. They have turned the once great Glasgow shipbuilding industry into a disgrace.

The Conservatives have allowed more migrants into this country than any other government in history, despite promising they would control immigration in 2010, 2015 2017 and 2019. They have allowed the destruction of the farming industry. The Conservatives introduced the 2019 Landlord’s Bill, which taxed landlords on their gross profit and stopped them from claiming back VAT which has contributed to the housing crisis we see in the Borders today. The Conservatives never took advantage of an 80-seat majority but instead will be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Labour’s only answer is tax tax and more tax, and they now want every borough in Britain to take their share of migrants. Scottish Borders Council has declared a housing emergency, and one housing association has 6000 people on their waiting lists. Where will these migrants go?

Everyone needs to look at each of the party’s manifestos and ask themselves – what are they doing for me? What are they doing for my family? And what are they doing for my business and this country?

The answer is to Vote Reform.