Hawick Tory MSP and candidate in the upcoming General Election, John Lamont, claims it is a straight fight between himself and the SNP to represent Hawick at Westminster.
The Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP has told the Hawick News that as months of campaigning for support approach the final two weeks before Teries go to the polls, the latest public opinion shows that in this area, the Conservatives and Nationalists’ candidate Callum Kerr are slugging it out.
Mr Lamont stated: “All of the local opinion polls show Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems in third place in the Borders and it is now a straight fight between me and an ‘unknown’ SNP candidate.”
And further alluding to his proven track record, having assumed office in 2007, the former solicitor says he has been putting in the hard graft to ensure that local voters know he will always put Hawick first.
“I’ve been knocking on hundreds of doors each week for a number of months now and speaking to as many voters as possible. The same issues come up time and time again, investment in the local NHS, the state of our roads, local jobs, the economy, the need for better broadband and mobile phone connectivity and concern about the continuing risk of Scottish separation from the rest of the UK. I will continue to fight for these issues and continue to be a champion for Hawick as your Member of Parliament.”
But despite the opinion polls, Mr Lamont still has some tough competition in Hawick’s long-standing Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore, who with 20 years’ experience has also led a comprehensive campaign.
And displaying the same understanding of the issues which affect the town, he told the Hawick News: “Crisscrossing Hawick and the surrounding area, I have heard the same issues raised again and again – the need to keep the economic recovery going, to support young people and to keep investing in our health service. From the Terraces to Stirches, in the mills and on the High Street, the message to me has been the same.”
He added: “We have had to make some very tough decisions in recent years to get the economy heading in the right direction, but with support for apprentices, pension increases and tax cuts for people on low incomes, Liberal Democrat priorities have been consistent throughout, and, I believe, in tune with the needs of Hawick.”
But both politicians concede that the political landscape has changed dramatically since the independence vote.
Mr Lamont added: “While the national picture is important, Hawick has a tradition of voting for a strong, local champion. I am committed to this town and my number one priority will continue to be standing up for local jobs and local services, which I will always put before party politics.
“My strong record as a local representative, including my commitment to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, is persuading more and more voters to back me.”
Mr Moore added: “The level of interest in the election has changed. I sense that people have become really engaged and are weighing up their votes carefully.”