MSPs elected May 2016

Members of the Scottish Parliament from May 2016, Campaign for Borders Rail

MSPs from different parties are of interest to supporters of the Campaign for Borders Rail who seek enhancement of the line that opened last September and extension of the role of rail in the Scottish Borders. During the election campaign in the weeks running up to 5 May 2016, there was cross-party support for the aims of CBR, including a proposed study into rail extension. This offers encouragement for the future, regardless of party affiliations.

Some 73 MSPs, Members of the Scottish Parliament, have been elected on the first-past-the-post constituency system, while 56 others have been elected through regional lists of names put forward by different political parties.

Following the election to the Scottish Parliament on 5 May, the SNP is the biggest single party with 63 seats. The Conservatives are in second place with 31 seats and Labour third with 24. There are also six Green MSPs and five LibDems. MSPs were sworn in on 12 May.

Three stations that were already there in Edinburgh are in two constituencies. The seven new Borders Railway stations are in two constituencies. Other stations that could potentially be opened or reopened within Scottish Borders are in some cases in another constituency. Two regional list areas are of interest: Lothian and South Scotland.

These are the Lothian list MSPs: Jeremy Balfour (Conservative), Miles Briggs (Conservative), Kezia Dugdale (Labour), Neil Findlay (Labour), Alison Johnstone (Green), Gordon Lindhurst (Conservative) and Andy Wightman (Green). And the South Scotland list MSPs: Claudia Beamish (Labour), Rachael Hamilton (Conservative), Emma Harper (SNP), Joan McAlpine (SNP), Colin Smyth (Labour), Paul Wheelhouse (SNP) and Brian Whittle (Conservative).

Stations at Tweedbank, Galashiels, Stow, Gorebridge and Newtongrange are in the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale constituency where the MSP continues to be the SNP’s Christine Grahame.

The Midlothian stations at Eskbank and Shawfair are in Midlothian North and Musselburgh, held again by Colin Beattie MSP, SNP.

Newcraighall and Brunstane are in Edinburgh Eastern, where the SNP’s Kenny MacAskill has stood down and has been followed by a new SNP MSP, Ash Denham.

Edinburgh Waverley is in Edinburgh Central, where the SNP’s Marco Biagi stood down. The new MSP is Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

Hawick, Kelso and Reston are among potential stations in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, where the Scottish Conservatives’ John Lamont has been re-elected as MSP.

Note that RAGES, Rail Action Group East of Scotland, is on the case for proposed new stations on the East Coast Main Line at East Linton (East Lothian) and Reston (in the Eastern Scottish Borders). There is a suggestion that the new cross-border franchise of First Group’s TransPennine could take on one or more of these stations instead of Abellio ScotRail.

The total number of MSPs is 129. All MSPs have the same status, whether elected on a regional list or for a specific constituency. The next Scottish Parliament election is due to be in May 2021. Scottish council elections are in May 2017.

Allan P McLean, Campaign for Borders Rail                                                12 May 2016