Let battle commence as the starting gun has been fired for May’s local elections in Hawick now all the candidates for both the town’s Scottish Borders Council wards have been announced.
And it is out with the old and in with the new as two of Hawick’s sitting councillors have decided not to stand for re-election on Thursday, May 4.
Six candidates are to contest the three seats up for grabs in Hawick and Denholm, with four candidates battling it out for the three seats in neighbouring Hawick and Hermitage.
One name that will not be on ballot papers is Ron Smith as the long-time representative for Hawick and Hermitage is calling time on his political career.
Mr Smith bid a fond farewell with an endorsement to fellow Scottish Liberal Democrat Ian Turnbull.
He said: “I give my wholehearted support to Ian Turnbull, who I hope will be my successor as one of the town’s representatives.
“Ian is a sincere and reliable local person who would be a valued team player, working co-operatively with constituents and other councillors in the interests of our town and its surrounding communities.”
Also bowing out, from his seat in Hawick and Denholm, is Alastair Cranston, a Scottish National Party representative.
Former rugby international Mr Cranston was unavailable for comment, but the SNP candidate hoping to succeed him has been revealed as Clair Ramage.
The political fight in Hawick and Hermitage is sure to be a feisty one, with independent Watson McAteer aiming for election after vacating his Hawick and Denholm ward seat.
One of the candidates he faces is independent Davie Paterson.
A total of 75 candidates are standing across the 11 council wards in the region. A full list can be seen online at www.scotborders.gov.uk/elections
The council is encouraging Teries to make sure they don’t miss out on their chance to vote in the election in the meanwhile.
Brian Rout, the authority’s acting electoral registration officer, said: “Time is running out to make sure you can take part in the elections, so I’d encourage everyone in the Borders to take action now if they’re not already registered to vote.
“It’s quick and easy to register, but after the deadline of April 17, it will be too late.”
Andy O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, said: “Our research shows that young people, students and recent home movers are particularly less likely to be registered to vote, so if you have moved house recently, then make sure you’re registered correctly.”
To register to vote, visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote by midnight on Monday, April 17.
You can also check if you are registered to vote by calling 01835 825100.
The candidates for Hawick and Denholm are David Byrne, for the Scottish Labour Party, of Main Street, Swinton; Kevin Ferguson, for the Scottish Green Party, of Waverley Terrace, Hawick; independent Stuart Marshall, of Princes Street, Hawick; the SNP’s Clair Ramage, of Braid Road, Hawick; Neil Richards, for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, of Cavers; and Ian Turnbull, for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, of Elm Grove, Hawick.
The candidates in Hawick and Hermitage are independent Watson McAteer, of Branxholm Bridgend; independent Davie Paterson, of Longcroft Crescent, Hawick; George Turnbull, for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, of Weensland Road, Hawick; and the SNP’s Iain Whyte, of Whitecraig, Midlothian.
Polling stations this time round will include Hawick’s Burnfoot Community Hub, Evergreen Hall, Stirches Primary School and Catholic church hall.
Other voting venues include Denholm Village Hull, Bonchester Bridge’s Laidlaw Memorial Hall, Hermitage Village Hall and Southdean Hall at Chesters.