THERE are just five days left to go until voting begins for the 2024 general election.

And this week, as campaigning draws to a close, we have invited this year's candidates to make their final pitches to voters.

Voting opens at 7am on Thursday, July 4, with polling stations closing at 10pm.

David Kirkwood from the Reform Party was invited to take part in this week's edition.

David Mundell, Scottish Conservatives

Having served as Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP since the constituency was created in 2005, my first priority has always been to represent the interests of our local communities.

At this election I stand on my record as a hard-working, local MP over 19 years and on my promise to work just as hard going forward, if Tweeddale residents put their trust in me again.

The choice here is clear. It’s a straight contest between me and the SNP as no other candidate or party has the strength locally to win. It’s also a choice between myself, who will work hard to deliver on local people's real priorities, and an SNP candidate focused on campaigning for Scottish independence, which most people just don’t want.

I believe I have a strong record of action on behalf of local residents. I helped introduce the Borderlands Growth Deal which is bringing up to £452 million of investment to the area, including UK government funding towards the £19m Mountain Bike Innovation Centre at Innerleithen. In just the last year, I have helped secure £4.1m to upgrade the Chambers Institute, a share of £6.8m to develop new walking and cycling routes and a share of £11m for the wider Borders region to help develop the former Crook Inn site at Tweedsmuir. My promise is to continue to work as hard as I can to deliver this much-needed investment for the benefit of local communities.

It all comes down to this – if you want to stop the SNP in our constituency and instead return an MP dedicated to working on behalf of everyone locally, then only a vote for me can do it. At the end of the day, the power is in your hands to either re-elect me or decide instead to opt for a pro-independence MP for our area.

Kim Marshall, SNP

I'm different because I’m English. I chose to come to Scotland. I’m not a career politician. I have a wealth of experience gained in life beyond the confines of politics. I grew up working in the family corner shop. I was the first woman in my family to go to university and I’ve spent most of my life teaching law. I’ve also spent several years as a civil servant at the Ministry of Justice. I know how Westminster and Whitehall work.

I am not a serial candidate, but someone committed to standing up for the area in which I live and the people who live here. There have been too many years of Tory neglect. I understand local issues and I understand problems that people are having in the current economic situation as I’m experiencing them too. I understand why our young people find it hard to stay in the area.

As a disabled person and disability rights activist I have a track record of speaking up for people who can’t always speak up for themselves.

Only the SNP are standing up for Scotland and standing up to Westminster, which has imposed years of austerity, Brexit and the cost of living crisis on our communities. This catastrophic combination has reduced the money available for the NHS, other public services and housing, and pushed up food and other household costs. Only the SNP have consistently spoken up for a ceasefire in Gaza and been constant in their support for compensation for WASPI.

I have pledged to be a strong and bold voice for everyone in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, and if elected, I will stand up for you and for Scotland.

Dominic Ashmole, Scottish Greens

"The climate emergency and the continued destruction of our natural world are existential threats to humanity and the single biggest issue facing the next UK Government.”

That’s the opening sentence of the Scottish Greens manifesto, which you can access at

A vote for me is a vote to shock the broken system that has brought us to this point. To break with such a destructive past. To salvage what we can for nature, for residents of lands battered by climate extremes, and for our own younger and future generations. A vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote to respond to this emergency with genuine emergency action.

Our manifesto sets out how the next UK Government could still take the decisive action to help secure a liveable future for all, while building a greener, fairer and prosperous country.

Other parties say we can’t afford to invest at the scale required. The Scottish Greens say we can’t afford not to. This isn’t about taxing ordinary households. It’s about taxing extreme wealth and excessive corporate profits. Cracking down on tax evasion. Ending the obscene public subsidies handed out to the fossil fuel sector.

These changes will enable us to begin repairing public services broken by decades of austerity, and to introduce a £28 billion per year Green New Deal investment programme to turbo-charge green industries. There is huge economic potential in the green transition, particularly in our renewables sector, in retrofitting buildings, in landscape scale nature restoration, and in climate-resilient and regenerative agriculture.

In doorstep conversations with you this month, you’ve said how much else needs to change. Health and social care in crisis. Education under-funded. Public transport inadequate and expensive. Cost of living increases arising from the extreme tax-cutting ideology of Liz Truss.

Vote for real change. Vote Scottish Greens.

Drummond Begg, Liberal Democrats

I have lived in the constituency for over 25 years. I work as a GP and was also elected as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Tweeddale two years ago.

I am passionate about having a properly resourced, accessible health and social care system. I believe that we need well-funded schools to nurture our young people and help them reach their full potential. We need more urgency in terms of action to achieve net zero and need to support our local businesses and farmers. We need to reverse the centralisation of services that favours the central belt over rural communities. I believe we need a strong economy to pay for our public services and am tired of politicians who over promise and under deliver.

I have really enjoyed the conversations that I have had on the doorstep and at our street stalls. People are looking for change and no longer want to vote for our SNP and Conservative governments. The Scottish Liberal Democrats offer a different vision for our country. We are winning elections again and overturning massive Conservative majorities in rural areas.

I am a fresh voice with new ideas. I will focus on reforming and improving our public services by working with people to find solutions. As a local resident, I will be your hard-working local champion who will seek to unify not divide.

Daniel Coleman, Scottish Labour

I got into politics to make things better for people.

Too often I hear stories from people across Peeblesshire who can’t get access to a GP or dental appointment, older people having had to decide whether to eat or heat their homes, young people having to leave the Borders because they can’t get a decent job or affordable housing.

Many people are angry over this out of touch Tory government, whose former and current Prime Ministers partied and were fined for breaking the covid rules, whilst you obeyed them and sadly many people lost loved ones.

I want to thank everyone who has spoken to me on the doorstep during this election. It’s not been possible to get round everybody in the short time for the campaign. But your message has been loud and clear. You have lost trust with the Tories on health and the economy and are crying out for change.

Many people have told me how let down your area is after 14 years of this Tory government. But it doesn’t have to be this way. On Thursday you have a clear choice. More chaos with the Tories or change with Labour.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, we have the chance to make Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale, and Tweeddale Tory free. But to deliver the change, I need your vote on July 4.

With the rise in support for Labour, and the collapse in support for both the Tories and SNP, the latest polls show Labour winning this constituency.

If I’m privileged to be elected, you will have an MP at the heart of the next Labour government and give people across Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale, and Tweeddale a new, strong voice for the people.

Together, with your support, let’s deliver change.

Vote Labour on July 4.

Gareth Kirk, Scottish Family Party

My name is Gareth Kirk. I live in Biggar and work in finance. I care about our environment as well as the Scottish people. I am originally South African, of Scottish descent from about 1840. I have loved living in Scotland for the past 16 years. I met my wife in Edinburgh and moved to the Borders two years ago with our two wonderful children. The move to the countryside has been great, but much more could be done to attract other young families to live and work here.

I am standing for the Scottish Family Party, as its unique values align closely with mine. We are what I would consider truly conservative. The Scottish Family Party has been described as “leading the charge in bringing common sense back to Scotland”. If you follow our weekly Livestreams on YouTube, you will find it insightful – addressing difficult issues that other parties are afraid to discuss.

The main focus for us is the family. Scotland seems to be dangerously competing to have the lowest birth rate in the world at 1.2, which means we are close to halving the number of people born every generation. This is only supplemented with immigration. We can help. Our policies include a single household tax, maternity pay for all mothers and restoring safe spaces for women. A related focus is education, reforming schools by removing harmful ideologies and making schools a safe place where every child is valued, challenged, and equipped to realise their full potential.

We are the only party that is pro-life, pro-marriage, and committed to allowing parents, rather than the government, to decide what is best for their children.

Much is needed to make the UK better place for not only my children, but for every child.

When they succeed, so do we.