SOUTH Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne has resigned from the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party and will sit as an independent for the remainder of her term.
It comes less than a year after a failed attempt to become the party’s leader at Holyrood, running against Jackson Carlaw in February but gaining just 24.3 per cent of the vote.
In a letter addressed to party leaders Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson on Tuesday, Mrs Ballantyne said there were “differences arising” in the Scottish Tories’ positioning on “policies, and indeed, its principles.”
She added: “Sadly, for me, this means I no longer feel that the Party and I are a good fit.
“That said, I recognise and respect the work Douglas, Ruth and their team are putting in to re-shape the future of the Scottish Conservatives and the Party’s position going forward.
“I have not taken this decision lightly and I wish both Douglas and Ruth, as well as my colleagues, the very best going forward.”
Ross and Davidson responded in a joint statement which read: “We would both like to thank Michelle for her service to the Scottish Conservatives down the years.
“As well as her time on Scottish Borders Council and in the parliament, she has also been an active member of the voluntary party.
“We wish her well for the future.”
It is the second resignation offered by a Scottish Conservative MSP in the region in the space of a week, following on from Dumfriesshire representative Oliver Mundell’s decision to step down from his front bench position over the travel ban.