SNP LEADERSHIP contender Ash Regan has suggested that having no STV in the Borders leads to more Tory votes.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP made the allegation at a party hustings in Dumfries on Monday night, after a member of the audience asked In the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, viewers can only access ITV Borders, with STV being shown in other areas of the country.

The leadership contender also praised The National for offering a “different perspective” but noted that Catalonia has numerous pro-independence television channels.

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Regan told the Dumfries audience: "I think in the rest of Scotland they don't realise that we don't actually have STV. I think when I say that to people, they're like 'oh don't you why not?' And actually I'm not sure how that came about.

"But I'm going to look into that because I do wonder if there's a correlation here between the media that we're getting in this part of the world and the voting pattern.

"So I'm going to look into that and see how we got to that stage.

“Now we have to remember the media are doing their job and I think we maybe as Scottish nationalists, we sometimes feel there's a malicious intent behind some of it and I think there sometimes is but not always, so I think you have to bear that in mind.”

Regan said in 2014 she was dismayed by how many newspapers were against Scottish independence and the impact that had on the Yes vote, as front pages were filled with “misery and disaster”.

The National: The candidates were taking part in a hustings in Dumfries in the bordersThe candidates were taking part in a hustings in Dumfries in the borders (Image: SNP)

She added: “I looked at that and my heart just sank. I thought if you’re coming in here to get a newspaper and you’re looking at this, that is definitely going to make you think twice about voting for independence.”

The MSP noted The National provides a “different perspective” but pointed out the four pro-independence news channels in Catalonia.

She added: “I'm wondering if it's something that we should be looking at in Scotland, just to try and even up that balance.

“I mean, no one is saying that we're expecting the media to give us an easy ride.

“We're not, we just want balance, we want fairness.

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“We want people to be able to get news from a perspective that suits them.”

In response to the same question, fellow contender Kate Forbes said that the issue isn’t just the media, but that the Tories are “extremely political” in the infrastructure investments they make and argued the Scottish Government should be “better and visible”.

The Finance Secretary said that “good governance” is key to demonstrating that the party “care[s] about all the communities in Scotland”.

She added: “We do need to be visible and we need to be using all the mouthpieces that are possible when it comes to different communities including using the local press, and we ultimately need to use social media as well.

“It needs to be localised news that demonstrates the SNP government in Edinburgh is as local as anybody else.”

READ MORE: Kate Forbes rejects idea her leadership would see SNP 'shift right'

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told the hustings he would set up a “beefed up rebuttal unit”.

He added: “We need to rebut some of the nonsense that comes from our opposition and some of the nonsense that comes from certain sections of the media too.

“And I'm not talking about sending press releases a day later or two days later, even minutes later, we have to be right on it and sharp, because we have the answers.

“We have the answers on any issue that is raised around independence and on what the government's doing, we have the answers.”