Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20759 (39.8%)
Labour: 7711 (14.8%)
Lib Dem: 1392 (2.7%)
SNP: 19961 (38.3%)
Green: 839 (1.6%)
UKIP: 1472 (2.8%)
MAJORITY: 798 (1.5%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Scotland, South of Scotland. Parts of Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire and Scottish Borders council areas.

Main population centres: Sanquhar, Annan, Gretna Green, Langholm, Moffat, Biggar, Peebles, Innerleithen, Lockerbie.

Profile: A large, rural constituency in the southern uplands of Scotland. To the south it is bounded by the Solway Firth and England in the form of Penrith and the Borders. Most of the seat is unpopulated hills and mountains and what towns there are are small settlements of only a few thousand that have historically relied upon the wool trade from surrounding hill farms. The main settlements include Sanquhar, Annan on the Solway Firth - until 2007 the site of Chapelcross nuclear power station, Gretna Green with its marriage industry, Langholm, Moffat, Biggar, Peebles, Innerleithen and Lockerbie, now infamous for the 1988 plane bombing.

Politics: The seat was created in 2005, made up from seats with a variety of political tranditions - Tweeddale was from a Liberal seat, Dumfriesshire is Conservative and Clydesdale was part of a Labour seat. In the event it was held by the Conservatives, their only remaining seat in Scotland and one of only three non-SNP seats in Scotland.

Current MP
DAVID MUNDELL (Conservative) Born 1962, Dumfries. Educated at Lockerbie Academy and Edinburgh University. Former Solicitor and legal advisor for British Telecom. Annandale and Eskdale councillor 1984-1986, Dumfries and Galloway councillor 1986-1987. First elected as MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale in 2005. Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland 2005-2010, Under-secretary of State for Scotland 2010-2015. Secretary of State for Scotland since 2015. Has been the only Conservative MP for a Scottish constituency since his election, ensuring his almost immediate appointment to the shadow cabinet, though this did not translate into a Cabinet portfolio until 2015.
Past Results
Con: 17457 (38%)
Lab: 13263 (29%)
LDem: 9080 (20%)
SNP: 4945 (11%)
Oth: 1147 (2%)
MAJ: 4194 (9%)
Con: 16141 (36%)
Lab: 14403 (32%)
LDem: 9046 (20%)
SNP: 4075 (9%)
Oth: 951 (2%)
MAJ: 1738 (4%)
Con: 11996 (28%)
Lab: 20830 (49%)
LDem: 4955 (12%)
SNP: 4103 (10%)
Oth: 702 (2%)
MAJ: 8834 (21%)
Con: 13885 (28%)
Lab: 23528 (48%)
LDem: 5487 (11%)
SNP: 5977 (12%)
Oth: 650 (1%)
MAJ: 9643 (19%)

2015 Candidates
DAVID MUNDELL (Conservative) See above.
ARCHIE DRYBURGH (Labour) Educated at Buckhaven High School. Trainer and assessor. Dumfries and Galloway councillor.
AMANDA KUBIE (Liberal Democrat)
KEVIN NEWTON (UKIP) Educated at Edinburgh University. Contested Dunfermline West 1997, Clydesdale 2001 for the Conservatives, Scotland 2014 European election for UKIP.
EMMA HARPER (SNP) Born 1967, Stranraer. Nurse.
Comments - 547 Responses on “Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale”
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  1. On that kind of vote share in Annandale North they should most definitely take 3 out of 4 seats in Ayr West.

  2. And by extension are in with a good chance of taking 3 out of 4 seats in Newton Mearns South and Eaglesham!

  3. I’m not certain how plausible that is: if they are going to win outright control anywhere it will be in Scottish Borders and then Dumfries & Galloway, the problem is that both council areas have strong Independent votes (which will most likely block this from happening). There is a chance in Scottish Borders though!

    The Conservatives will take the largest share of the vote/councillors in East Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire.

    It looks as though the Conservatives are on track to win in Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh: if they win the Carnoustie by-election (clarifying that they can repeat the result in Banff & District in areas with bigger Remain votes from the EU referendum and that the result wasn’t simply a one time wonder) then that would most likely indicate that the Conservatives are favourites to come first in Angus, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and possibly even Moray. And now we must ask ourselves, are the No heartlands from 2014 going towards the Conservatives? Can they come first in areas like Aberdeen, Argyll & Bute, East Dumbartonshire and East Lothian? If they can win in Banff and Carnoustie can’t they win here?

  4. The next question being can they one day win the seats at Hollyrood or even Westminster. Perhaps not while in government nationally but one day, maybe…

  5. I couldn’t remember whether there was one ‘l’ or two; it didn’t look quite right with one but hey ho

  6. Based on 2016 the Conservatives are already in a very favourable position of gaining Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk and are quite likely to hold Clydesdale and Eskdale. So in that sense yes it is quite likely that they will gain at least one constituency in Scotland in 2020.

    It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from local council elections: if they were a direct reflection of general elections we’d have had Tory MP’s in places like Ayr, Perth and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine by now.

    What I can say is that based on the trends set by recent local council by-elections and what few opinion polls we’ve on Westminster voting intention in Scotland I believe that the Conservatives are currently on track to take at least two constituencies in Scotland: they should be very competitive in a further five constituencies. Unfortunately there’s not enough data to comment much further, although the local council elections could give us some idea of where the Conservatives are making their largest gains, which could in turn indicate which seats are more/less favourable for the party.

    At the moment I believe that the five most competitive proposed constituencies would be:
    – Ayr and Carrick
    – Cunninghame East
    – Dumfries and Galloway
    – Edinburgh South West and Central
    – Gordon and Deeside

  7. I think that they would have a chance of gaining Edinburgh South, but it would be quite unlikely.

  8. Thank you for your contributions NYT UK I think we’d be lost without you

  9. It’s perfectly plausible that the Scottish Conservatives will dominate the stronger LEAVE councils and indeed constituencies come the next GE; BR&S (42%), Dumfries & Galloway (47%), Angus (45%), Aberdeenshire (46%), Moray (50%) are just a few examples.

  10. If it happens anywhere it will be Scottish Borders, and then possibly Dumfries and Galloway.

    Again it’s important to stress that Dumfries & Galloway, Scottish Borders and Moray all traditionally have strong Independent votes!

  11. Well regardless of whether that is or is not the case the Conservatives would need to take two councillors in all wards covered by the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency in the Scottish Parliament to be in with a chance of gaining an overall majority in Scottish Borders (all of those wards are three member). I think the chances of it happening are remote at best.

  12. It’s possible but difficult as I can see some Independents surviving.

  13. That is ludicrous.

    East Renfrewshire went SNP in 2016. It’s very difficult to see the Conservatives taking an overall majority here over Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway and South Ayrshire.

    For a start, they should only manage one councillor in Barrhead and one in Giffnock & Thornliebank (where Labour are stronger). I would guess that they will only manage one councillor in Newton Mearns North & Neilston, leaving them with two councillors in Clarkston and three in Newton Mearns South. That’s 7 seats out of 18, or 2 seats away from an overall majority: they would be in minority here even with 2 councillors in Newton Mearns North…

    In contrast there is a reasonable (albeit unlikely) chance that Scottish Borders will have a Conservative majority.

  14. Thought you hadn’t even ever been to Scotland?

    Perhaps NTY can arrange a field trip for you.

  15. Everyone should have visited Edinburgh by the age of 21.

  16. I’ve never been to Edinburgh. I did visit Glasgow aged 10 for the garden festival though

  17. Edinburgh is superb! Beautiful city.

  18. I don’t anticipate a significant reduction in the number of independent councillors next year. Firstly, they’ve proved surprisingly durable over the years – I expected to see a significant and sustained drop-off over time, but this hasn’t happened. Secondly, people in general are fed up with political parties, and I think competent independents who reflect the views of the people they represent are likely to do pretty well.

    I think that makes it very difficult for the Tories to get any overall majorities. STV makes it much easier to get an overall majority in two way contests, which are usually SNP/Lab in west central Scotland. Multi way contests in areas such as D&G, Borders, Edinburgh and Aberdeenshire are likely to lead to badly hung councils in general.

    Also the ramping of the Scottish Tories is getting somewhat out of hand on here. They may well do very well (relatively speaking) next year, but oppositions usually do in mid-term low turnout elections. What it will mean in a real election remains unclear, especially if Brexit proves relatively bumpy. There is also a belief that the reasons for the Tories upturn are that Ruth Davidson is great, and Scottish unionists are coming round to Tory views. I think that the main reason is much more that there are few other alternatives for centrist uniionists. If the Lib Dems pick up steam or when Labour move back towards the middle ground and stop the infighting, then I anticipate that some of the new Tory support is likely to melt away.

  19. Yes I completely agree with that. We will see how things pan out once Labour pull themselves together, though as mentioned earlier you can’t draw UK general election results out of local council election results.

  20. My first visit was at 18 I think it’s a great place very cold though. My gf has suggested moving to Portobello one day. Some of my friends live in Leith.

    I find council by elections fascinating but no they don’t always predict the outcome of an election.

  21. ‘when Labour move back towards the middle ground and stop the infighting, then I anticipate that some of the new Tory support is likely to melt away’

    So 2045 then?

  22. I wonder if the old Irish Nationalist Party thought like that in 1918…

  23. There are remarkably similarities between early 20th century and now.

    What do you imagine the centre ground to be in 2045

  24. Matt
    “What do you imagine the centre ground to be in 2045”

    Brave asking that question amongst some of the peeps here…depending on who answers I imagine the response you’ll get will be something between Ian Duncan Smith and a very angry Pinochet…

  25. “What do you imagine the centre ground to be in 2045?”

    In 2045 climate change will mean that we all live in aquatic life-support pods. Right-wing politicians will advocate a policy of letting drowning people work their way onto the life-pod ladder, while allowing property magnates to buy out vast swathes of life-pods and sell them on at inflated prices. Meanwhile they will champion entrepreneurship and encourage people to find innovative ways not to die. The left, on the other hand, will nationalise the pod-building industry – but will then be taken by surprise when voters punish them for allowing extraplanetary immigrants to the front of the life-pod waiting list. Meanwhile, tax revenues will plummet as rich pod-dwellers stash their money away on the Moon for safe-keeping.

    In this scenario, the centre-ground would merely combine the worst aspects of the left and right, and would start a disastrous military campaign trying to overthrow despotic regimes on Alpha Centuri, just for good measure.

  26. Alternatively the populist movement and revolt of the working class reaches its logical conclusion with the utter collapse of capitalism and an end to globalisation. Society becomes a loose federation of isolated communities with all food being grown and sourced locally and occasional border skirmishes will occur between Yorkshire and Lancashire as they fight to not have possession of Oldham.

  27. Or: After a nuclear exchange triggered by a minor disagreement over which of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has the better hairpiece, the key political divides in the 2045 post-apocalyptic dystopia concern which berries are still safe to eat. The centre ground advocates only picking the ones that are not obviously glowing in the dark, much to the ridicule of populist demagogues who believe that they convey superpowers.

  28. “Obviously only the first 5 of those are realistic, although Moray is an outside chance IMO”

    The Conservatives have a significantly better chance of gaining Aberdeen South than they do of gaining Moray.

  29. People also measure majorities on percentages. 0 to 15% is marginal and 15% plus is semi safe to ultra safe.

    I think some 5 figure majorities can be quite soft and some smaller majorities can be quite solid. In some cases a 3000 majority could be hard core voters while a larger majority could be made up of softer swing voters.

  30. Based on 2016 Aberdeen South and Moray appear to have had very similar SNP constituency majorities at around 9% of the vote. That’s before weighing in a clear tactical vote in Aberdeen Central in favour of the Labour Party.

    Moray has been represented by the SNP since 1987 – there vote here is much higher than in Aberdeen South and its reasonable to assume that the SNP vote here is more solid than in Aberdeen South.

    To gain Moray the Conservatives would require a direct swing from the SNP, to gain Aberdeen South the Conservatives could manage it with Labour and Liberal Democrat voters.

  31. To return, more sensibly, to the question up-thread of “what will the political centre look like in 2045?”

    1) Most people still alive will have grown up in an online world. This could work one of two ways – either it could make us more accepting of others as we think more globally rather than locally, or it makes us more divided as we retreat into our echo chambers and unconsciously segregate ourselves.

    2) Automation will take out most low-skilled jobs and probably some skilled ones too. There won’t be enough work to go round, and I expect by this time the universal income will be at least mainstream idea, if not agreed upon by the vast majority. We’ll also likely be working shorter, more flexible hours, and probably most of us will be working from home.

    3) Health spending will continue to grow exponentially as people live longer in old age with severe health problems (and therefore with a rather poor quality of life), and new, expensive drugs and treatments are discovered. In such circumstances, I expect support for euthanasia to be far more acceptable standpoint than it is currently.

  32. Paddy Powers odds project-

    SNP. 53
    Con. 4
    LD. 2
    Lab. 0

    Con Gain from SNP

    Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine
    Berwickshire Roxburgh & Selkirk
    Dumfries & Galloway

    LD Gain from SNP

    Edinburgh West

    SNP Gain from Lab

    Edinburgh South

  33. It’s all looking a bit grim for labour

  34. Apparently there has been a large Ashcroft Poll of 40000 people with a large Scottish sub-sample (larger than many Scottish polls) since the local elections that has recorded –

    SNP 41
    Con 30
    Lab 17
    LD 7

    In terms of seats this would give –

    SNP 44 (down 10)
    Con 12 (up 11)
    LD 3 (up 2)
    Lab 0 (down 1)
    Ind 0 (down 2)

  35. SNP 41
    Con 30
    Lab 17
    LD 7

    5% of that vote is unaccounted for, and most of that will be supporting the Scottish Greens.

    Of course the Scottish Greens are barely contesting an seats this election, so perhaps we could notionally add a couple of percentage points onto the SNP’s score?

  36. It depends: not all Scottish Green voters have the SNP as their second preference.

  37. Imagine if Scotland had behaved like England and the Tories had made no gains. Labour would have struggled to cobble something together even with the SNP support (if it was, say Con 309, Lab 261, SNP 45, LD 12 etc.) – a second GE would be inevitable so, after so long in the doldrums the Scottish Tories have saved the wider party

  38. Lord Steel to be suspended from the Lib Dems after revealing under Oath Cyril Smith confessed to him that he was guilty of child abuse allegations.

  39. That’s a long time coming.

    At least he was honest (unlike Clegg & Paddy).

    Indeed almost all LibDems appeared to know.

    Good to see the BBC footage of Cyril next to Thorpe as well!

  40. Well he lied on Newsnight but didn’t fancy risking Perjury.

  41. Lord Steel has been readmited to the Lib Dems – despite the investigation continuing.

  42. David Mundell has followed Rory Stewart in rowing back on.a previous claim that he would.not serve in a Boris Johnson Cabinet. Embarrassing.

  43. Well, he likely wouldn’t serve beyond a general election anyway as I can’t see Boris winning any Scottish seats.

  44. I think he could. Not because of his own qualities, but because Ruth Davidson has done an excellent job of inoculating the Scottish Tories from the drama down south. When the Tories collapsed everywhere else in last month’s European elections, their vote share in Scotland held up pretty well, to the extent that eight of the Tories’ top ten counting areas were in Scotland.

  45. Perhaps. The Tory Scottish vote does however contain a lot of unionist remainers, many of whom switched tactically from Labour and the Lib Dems, and Boris will find it hard to retain such voters, whilst I doubt he will be very attractive to the significant minority of SNP supporters who voted Leave.

  46. Tories can probably hold at least 2-5 seats even under Boris in Scotland. I.e. here , Berwickshire and West Aberdeenshire at least.

    The Scottish EU result wasn’t too bad for them although he would probably leak some anti SNP remain Tory votes back to the LDs in seats like Aberdeen south and Stirling allowing the SNP through the middle.

  47. Mundell sacked.

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