Michael Moore reselected for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Michael Moore MP with apprentices Cameron Collins and Mark Tully at Mainetti 30 08 1349 years ago today, the Liberal Party created a political earthquake in the Borders when David Steel won the Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles by-election as the Liberal Democrat History Group remembers:

In the winter of 1963-64 a vacancy arose for a Liberal candidate in the much more winnable Scottish Border seat of Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles, whose Conservative incumbent, C. E. M. Donaldson, was elderly and ailing. Steel jumped at the chance to move and in January 1964 was adopted as the Liberal candidate. He failed to win the seat from the Conservatives at the general election of that year, but nonetheless moved his home to the Borders and took a short-lived job in television with the BBC. The death of Donaldson in December 1964 gave him his opportunity. Steel won the byelection in March of the following year with a handsome majority. He held the constituency (subsequently re-drawn and re-named Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale) at the eight general elections from 1966 to 1992 before bequeathing the seat in 1997 to Michael Moore (q.v.) after more than thirty years in Parliament.

Twenty years after the by-election, David Steel announced he was stepping down as MP and Michael Moore was selected to fight the seat which he won in 1997.

This weekend, in news that will surprise nobody, Michael was formally reselected to fight the seat in 2015. Since the last election, he’s had a successful stint as Secretary of State for Scotland, negotiating the Edinburgh Agreement and securing the passage of the Scotland Act 2012 through both Holyrood and Westminster. He’s currently doing a series of Road to the Referendum public meetings which will be accompanied by a series of articles on this site.

I interviewed Michael several times. The first was in 2011 when I caught him during his mammoth Summer Tour of his constituency. The enthusiasm in his voice for getting out there and talking to people was so obvious. In the Cabinet, he took his constituents’ concerns about welfare reform direct to Iain Duncan Smith and he and Willie Rennie were pivotal in arguing for extra funds for discretionary housing payments to mitigate the effects of the Bedroom Tax.

On his reselection, he had this to say:

It is a real privilege to represent the Borders in Parliament. This is a very special part of the country which I am proud to call my home.

I will continue to work hard on behalf of my constituents in the months ahead and look forward to the election campaign next year.

Nationally the Liberal Democrats are campaigning to build a stronger economy and a fairer society which fits very closely with the approach I have always taken in the Borders.

Jobs, particularly for young people locally, communication and transport links and support for people on low incomes remain key priorities for me and my constituents. My campaigning on these issues will continue.

David Steel was there for the event  and he added his congratulations:

Michael has proved a highly effective MP for the Borders over many years now and brought credit to the area when he was Secretary of State for Scotland.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of my successful by-election in the Borders, Michael remains the right candidate to continue to fly the Liberal Democrat flag for the Borders in the House of Commons.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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