MSPs from both sides of Holyrood's political divide have backed calls for two new National Parks in the South of Scotland.

Finlay Carson, Conservative MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, and Christine Grahame, SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, have joined forces to gather support for national parks in Galloway and the Borders and Midlothian.

The two allies have also invited all other South of Scotland regional and constituency MSPs to unite and encourage South of Scotland Enterprise to support both bids.

Cross-party backing has already come from fellow MSPs – Elena Whitham, Paul McLennan, Brian Whittle, Carol Mochan, Emma Harper, Colin Smyth, Colin Beattie and Martin Whitfield.

Carson and Grahame both contributed to a recent debate at Holyrood on ScotGov’s commitment to create 'at least one' new National Park, and subsequently agreed there was a strong case to be made for the two areas to gain national park status.

In their joint statement, Ms Grahame and Mr Carson stated: “We both believe our respective areas have many assets that would make them ideal for a new National Park, however we can also see the benefits of them both.

Read more: Where will Scotland's next National Park be?

“As such we see no reason why SOSE cannot support both areas as candidates, without prejudice or favour to either. In both locations new National Parks would offer opportunities to protect our natural environments whilst promoting responsible tourism and new economic opportunities.”

They continued: “We appreciate that there will be challenges and concerns about the creation of any new National Park, especially and understandably from the agricultural communities, so they must be at the forefront of any consultation to ensure they are confident they can benefit from the protections and economic opportunities a National Park could provide.

“Similarly any proposal must consider the practicalities of a National Park and additionally benefit the residents of the area. We look forward to SOSE’s response in due course.”