A political party in the Borders took the unprecedented step this week when it supported a by-election runner who isn’t their own candidate.
The Borders Party has decided not to put forward a candidate for the May 22 by-election in Hawick and Denholm and has announced that they feel Watson McAteer, pictured, is the right man for the job.
A press statement issued on Tuesday night stated: “The Borders Party has announced that it has taken the very unusual decision not to field a candidate in the forthcoming council by-election in the Hawick and Denholm ward.”
And Borders Party leader Frances Pringle said: “We are committed to ensuring that the best independent candidates are put forward to represent each ward. For Hawick and Denholm we have taken this very unusual decision because we feel that there is already an excellent independent candidate standing.
“It would go against our own aims to field another candidate to stand against someone who we feel would make a truly committed councillor for the ward. Watson McAteer is well known in the ward, knows the ward well and has a real understanding of the issues, problems and pressures the ward faces.”
And speaking to the Hawick News this week, Mr McAteer says that while he welcomes the recognition that he is the best candidate for the job he will at no point become affiliated to the Borders Party or any other political group.
He said: “I have no ties to the Borders Party nor am I likely to in the future, but I welcome their recognition of my independent position and their statement that I am the best independent candidate.”
And the Borders Party leader further added: “We feel Watson McAteer would represent the people of Hawick and Denholm very well putting their needs and their future first. Our councillors are the people who most affect our daily lives – and we urge everyone in the ward to use their vote to ensure that their elected representatives stand up for them and for the area in the council chamber.”
Mr McAteer added: “I am looking forward to fighting this campaign, and welcome the opportunity, as an independent, to meet and hear from constituents and indeed anyone in the area who has issues to raise.”
Nominations for the May 22 poll closed last week and the candidates are Watson McAteer, Independent; Marion Short, Independent; Craig Bryson, Independent; David Paterson, Independent; Ian Turnbull, Liberal Democrat; Harry Stoddart, SNP; Trevor Adams, Conservative.
Polling stations will open at Denholm, Stirches, Burnfoot, Wilton Dean, Hawick Youth Centre, Bonchester Bridge, Southdean and Trinity Primary School.