ONE of Peeblesshire's most prominent politicians has been booted out of her job.

Catriona Bhataia was voted from her education post at Scottish Borders Council after colleagues turned on her for breaching trust.

The Tweeddale West member leaked details of private plans to slash education spending to a local newspaper.

And yesterday senior members of the local authority claimed the breach was the final straw in months of behind the scenes rows.

Leader David Parker and Depute Leader Neil Calvert were amongst 21 councillors who backed a motion by Tweeddale member Gavin Logan to remove Mrs Bhatia from her education post - only eight of Mrs Bhatia's colleagues voted for her to stay.

Plans to save £420,000 from the council's education budget, by scrapping plans to introduce free school meals in deprived areas and also employ 14 new teachers in the summer, had been agreed by Councillor Bhatia during private discussions with other members of the administration.

But she took exception to further cuts which would see the scrapping of plans to offer free nursery places to pre-school kids.

And the 41-year-old mother of four took out her frustration by revealing details to a local journalist.

Councillor Logan told yesterday's meeting: "This is a trust and confidence issue and nobody can trust her.

"Councillor Bhatia has continually pursued her own political interests and I believe the majority of the administration wants her removed." Councillor Bhatia was one of five Liberal Democrats on the local authority's rainbow coalition which rules the local authority. But she gained no support from the other six Conservatives and two Independents.

She told the meeting: "I regret my actions. I would appeal to members to allow me to continue as executive member for education. These past two weeks have been a learning experience for me. "I made a mistake and I regret it." Councillor Bhatia was seen as one as one of the Borders' brightest new political figures helping revitalise a flagging education department during her terms in office by overseeing the building of five new schools.

And she was also hoisted to stand as the Lib-Dems Westminster candidate for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale at the recent election.

But many of her visions, including a new Kingsland Primary building at Neidpath Grazings, were not always popular.

And from within the ranks of power at Scottish Borders Council she also made enemies.

Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre, executive member for planning, said: "These were very important discussions and Councillor Bhatia argued with a passion, which she has a right to do.

"What was not right was for the Executive Member to go to the press with a red herring and I now have no trust in the member." Councillor Bhatia will continue to represent her Tweeddale West ward at Newtown St Boswells - but from the back benches.

Hawick Conservative George Turnbull was elected as her replacement.