BOTH candidates in the Scottish Conservatives' leadership election battle went head-to-head in Moffat last weekend.

Current interim leader Jackson Carlaw, MSP, who was deputy to former leader Ruth Davidson, and South of Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne, from Walkerburn, are bidding for the top job.

They addressed nearly 100 party members at a hustings in the Annandale Hotel on Saturday afternoon before lively question and answer sessions.

Mr Carlaw, who represents Eastwood, was in the motor trade for many years before becoming a full-time politician whilst Ms Ballantyne, a former NHS intensive care staff nurse, later worked in health management and has also led a specialist support charity for people facing drugs and alcohol issues.

The meeting was chaired by Charles Milroy of Dumfries, former chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Conservative and Unionist Association.

All party members in Scotland are eligible to vote with ballot papers being circulated shortly and the new leader is expected to be announced on February 14.

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell and his son Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell helped host the local hustings.

Both have publicly endorsed Mr Carlaw as their favoured candidate for the role.

David Mundell said: "There was some insightful questioning of both candidates and I was delighted to see such a large turnout on a wet afternoon."