ALTHOUGH I am absolutely not a Conservative supporter, I feel that the Tories have been shafted by one of their own. Michelle Ballantyne, a list MSP where I live in the Borders, has jumped ship to become Scottish leader of Reform UK, the Brexit Party by a new name. No-one elected her in that role and if she stands at the next Holyrood election for Reform UK, she will very probably lose her deposit.

I understood that the list was there to adjust the number of MSPs a party should have in accordance with the system’s proportional-representation principle. Individuals are not on the list unless they specifically say they are standing as individuals (eg the late Margo MacDonald).

READ MORE: Michelle Ballantyne to lead Nigel Farage’s Reform Party in Scotland

Ballantyne was there as the Tories’ top-up member, so surely her position is now cheating them out of that right? I never imagined that I would ever write a letter in support of a Tory grievance, but I reckon I am not alone in thinking it is an outrage that the odious Nigel Farage has sneaked one of his followers into our Parliament in an undemocratic way.

Dr David White

IT comes as no surprise that Nigel Farage’s new political party has chosen former Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne as its “Scottish” leader. Her previous comments have highlighted her extreme right-wing views and only Reform UK would welcome such a toxic politician.

However, as she is now a member of Reform UK, when is she resigning from the Scottish Parliament? She was elected as a Tory list MSP, so should have resigned then – or have been kicked out of parliament to allow (unfortunately) another Tory to take her place.

READ MORE: Reform UK: Who is Nigel Farage's Scottish sidekick Michelle Ballantyne?

Surely she can’t be allowed to now be a member of a new party and still remain an MSP when it is clear that no-one voted for her personally nor for her hideous new party? Surely there must be rules in place that once list members resign from the party which got them elected, they should automatically be kicked out of parliament?

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

SO the second wing of the Tory Party Scottish Branch has Michelle Ballantyne as leader. Is it just coincidence or is there a “cunning plan” here?

Not so long ago, Douglas Ross resigned from a Westminster post and not long after, Jackson Carlaw was removed and Ross installed in his place. Many wondered at the time, due to the speed with which these consecutive events took place, if there had been a clandestine “cunning plan”.

In a neat sideways move we have Michelle Ballantyne, who failed to win the leadership of the existing branch, resigning from the Scottish Tories and, in no time at all, making a sideways move to leadership of their Backdoor Scottish Branch, recently given a new cover name.

With this revelation of their joint modus operandi, otherwise known as a “cunning plan”, can anyone now be in any doubt that the two parties are, in reality, one and the same?

L McGregor

THE far right of the Tory party revealed their true colours by publishing Britannia Unchained. Their ambition is to make the rich richer and squeeze social security spending into extinction because it “encourages British people to be lazy”.

Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation crusade created many more billionaires but did little for working people. This wing of the Tory party want to take the UK into places that even Mrs Thatcher was not prepared to go.

Make no mistake – Britannia Unchained is what Brexit was all about and why big money was poured into the Leave campaign.

Mike Underwood

UNLIKE Chris Duffy (Letters, January 12), I agree with Joanna Cherry in that we must be prepared to work outside the Brit rules to gain independence. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi used peaceful means to get freedom. Of course, I would never suggest going to war or ceding territory. Dick Gaughan’s beautiful song sums it up: “Let the love of our lands sacred rights, To the love our people succeed, Let friendship and honour unite, And flourish on both sides the Tweed”.

READ MORE: Letters, January 12

Unfortunately the Brits stole our land north of the Tweed, and our fishing and mineral rights in the North Sea. So how can you agree to their rules? Without violence, we should use civil ways to regain internationalism. We should be as independent and rich as Switzerland. How did that wee “island” state flourish as Scotland withered? I mention them because they accept the result of referendums, unlike the meek Scots. 62% is a loss in Scotland, I did pass my arithmetic O Grade in 1976. 62% then was positive but why do feeble Scots fail to accept this?

We should declare UDI now, not tomorrow. If we had leaders like the aforesaid we would. Unfortunately we have weakness. The Brits don’t play fair, we should adopt the means of Mahatma Ghandi, peaceful non-acceptance of their governance. That can start with simple means as not using postage stamps. Begging Boris is embarrassing.

Bryan Clark

REGARDING your article on John Ross smoked salmon (Scots salmon company boss’s fury over Brexit, January 12).

Tesco in Inverness ran out of John Ross smoked salmon last week and we couldn’t get it in our Tesco delivery. Will try again tomorrow, but Brexit is causing problems here too.

READ MORE: 'Grossly incompetent': Scottish salmon company John Ross's fury over Brexit

Also today Tesco have no Tunnock’s caramel logs or Great Scot split red lentils. Scottish staples unavailable at Tesco.

Dr Jock Ramsay