The longest-serving councillor in the Borders is poised to return to his political roots by rejoining the Scottish National Party.
Davie Paterson quit the party in 2001 after being affiliated to it for 14 years and has since represented the Hawick and Hermitage ward as an independent.
At the time of his departure, he had become embroiled in a row with Leaderdale and Melrose councillor David Parker, then leader of Scottish Borders Council’s SNP group but now an independent too, over his alleged failure to follow party procedures.
After almost two decades away from party politics, Mr Paterson is set to hold talks with SNP representatives locally with a view to rejoining the party, however.
The 65-year-old even joined members of Tweeddale’s SNP group at an independence rally in Glasgow at the weekend.
His about-turn is, he says, born of growing frustration at the UK Government’s refusal to give Scotland a say in staying within the European Union despite the majority of Scots voting to remain at 2016’s referendum.
That anger deepened this week after Scottish secretary Alister Jack insisted that even victory at 2021’s Scottish Government election would not give the SNP a mandate to hold a second independence referendum after losing its first in 2014.
Mr Paterson, set to celebrate 32 years of continuous service on Scottish Borders Council and its predecessors come May, said: “I will speak to someone in the SNP locally. I was a member of the SNP years ago but had a big fallout with one member who claimed I wasn’t a team player.
“I do support a second referendum to come out of the UK after all the lies that we were told in 2014. They told the Scots if they voted to come out of the UK, we would be thrown out of Europe.
“Scotland has consistently voted to remain in Europe, but now we are being dragged out against the wishes of the majority of Scots who want to remain.
“I was at the march on Saturday because I feel so strongly about the way that Scotland is being treated by Westminster.
“I was going to sit on the sidelines and hope that the Tory government came to their senses and would hopefully give Scotland a special deal, like they have done for other areas of the United Kingdom.
“I constantly hear unionists saying that we had a vote in 2014 and that will be it for a lifetime. That’s what we are being told by the Scottish Secretary.
“What he and other Unionists do not mention is that we were continually told that if Scotland voted to come out of the UK we would be thrown out of the EU and I know, speaking to a lot of folk, that they wanted to stay in Europe.
“Now – shock horror – Scotland is now being dragged out. So much for democracy. I’m not prepared to stand by and see the people of Scotland treated so dreadfully.”
At the time of his departure from the party in 2001, Mr Parker said: “I have a great deal of respect for Davie Paterson. I wish him well for the future.”