MICHELLE Ballantyne MSP for South Scotland, has lost her bid to become the new leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

Jackson Carlaw, who was backed by local MP John Lamont and MSP Rachael Hamilton, was announced as the party leader this morning.

Ms Ballantyne, who received support from Conservative members of Scottish Borders Council, said: "Congratulations to Jackson Carlaw on being elected leader of the @ScotTories.

"Thank you so much to all those who voted for me and a heartfelt thank you to my #BackingBallantyne team.

"Now our party must come together to show the real alternative to the SNP and beat them in 2021."