South Scotland

Conservatives sweep seats in Borders and Dumfries and Galloway

Conservative winners Image copyright Scottish Conservatives/PA
Image caption Alister Jack, David Mundell and John Lamont won the three constituencies covering the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway

The Conservatives have won all three Westminster constituencies covering Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

David Mundell kept his Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale seat with a significantly increased majority.

Alister Jack and John Lamont ousted the SNP in Dumfries and Galloway and Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

The party also won a Scottish Parliament by-election in the region with Rachael Hamilton holding Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire for them.

The biggest majority was secured in what was Scotland's most marginal constituency in the last Westminster vote.

Mr Lamont polled more than 11,000 votes above the SNP's Calum Kerr - the pair were separated by just a few hundred votes in 2015.

Image caption Alister Jack overturned a majority of more than 6,000 for Richard Arkless

Labour's Ian Davidson was third ahead of Lib Dem Caroline Burgess.

Mr Mundell also counted a majority in the hundreds two years ago but this time he triumphed by more than 9,000 votes.

The SNP's Mairi McAllan was second ahead of Labour's Douglas Beattie and Liberal Democrat John Ferry.

Analysis: Giancarlo Rinaldi, BBC news website, south of Scotland reporter

In the end, the margins were much wider than anyone expected.

Two of the closest battles in the general election of two years ago produced resounding Conservative wins this time while the third south of Scotland constituency also delivered a huge swing in their favour.

The same strength of support was delivered in the region's Holyrood by-election.

That mirrored the results at council elections earlier this year where the Conservatives emerged as the biggest party in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

Both victors and vanquished recognised that the prospect of another independence referendum - in a strong no voting area last time around - had been a key factor.

And David Mundell, meanwhile, was just glad of a bit of company for his train trips down to London.

Finally, there was another big swing to the Conservatives in Dumfries and Galloway.

The SNP's Richard Arkless saw his majority of more than 6,000 evaporate as Mr Jack won by more than 5,000.

Daniel Goodare for Labour was third, the Lib Dems' Joan Mitchell fourth with independent Yen Hongmei Jin gathering just over 500 votes.

Image caption David Mundell said he was pleased to no longer be Scotland's only Conservative MP

Mr Jack said he believed the prospect of a second independence referendum had contributed to his victory.

"A lot of people thought that was a step too far and they turned their back on the SNP," he said.

"I completely concur with them because I am a staunch unionist - I think Scotland does not need further division."

Mr Arkless said he was disappointed and conceded it had been an issue in the area.

"There is no sugar coating it, Indyref2 and the pursuit of another independence referendum has damaged us in the south," he said.

"I believe strongly that Scotland should get a choice at the end of the Brexit process and I don't think we have acted unreasonably.

"I still believe that Scotland should be an independent country but we must listen to the people."

Image caption Voters in the Borders were electing both an MP and MSP

In the Borders, Mr Lamont admitted he had not expected such a convincing victory.

"I am very, very pleased and very relieved - I wasn't quite sure how it was going to pan out," he said.

"The scale of the result has certainly surprised me but I have got a fantastic team of people who have worked very hard to deliver these votes for me tonight."

Mr Kerr said: "It is disappointing because I really enjoyed being MP for the region.

"I have put everything I have got into it and I feel I have a lot more still to give but you have got to respect that this is the nature of the job of a politician."

For Mr Mundell, it was a case of looking forward to additional Scottish allies at Westminster.

"I have come on these programmes for 12 years for it to be pointed out that I was the only Conservative MP in Scotland," he said.

"I do want to take a moment to say how pleased I am that this time I will have 12 other colleagues from Scotland and this is a really great result for the Scottish Conservatives."

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