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. What is the English proportion of the population here?

  2. No idea Richard.

    I bet Mundell must be glad the boundary changes are unlikely to happen as the new seat would have been more difficult for him to hold onto.

    I’d imagine that Labour will be throwing a lot of welly into this seat and make Scotland a Tory free zone again.

  3. Big Pump- agreed, and I can envisage Labour pulling it off. In that case, the Tories’ hopes of retaining a Scottish presence would rest on winning Roxborough or perhaps Abdereenshire West from the Lib Dems- it would be doable but I am not holding my breath. One gets the impression that the Tories could snatch defeat from the jaws of any victory north of the border.

  4. Difficult to know whether being the Secretary of State for Scotland would have made Mundell certain to be defeated, or being passed over for the position makes it certain as even his own party passed him over.

    Either way-he is out. Last time the Lib Dems had managed to (falsely as it turned out) create the illusion that they might win here-no such expectation will exist in 2015, so he will be swept away on the now famous Scottish tactical voting anti-Tory tide.

  5. If the Scottish Tories really do lose here in 2015, tactical voting or not, they should pack up.

  6. I’d imagine that the Tories will throw the kitchen sink at this seat as it’s probably their best (maybe only!) chance of winning a seat in Scotland.

  7. Aberdeen East and Berwickshire are definatley chances. Maybe not probables but they must count as possibles.

  8. Maybe a rise in the SNP vote could save the Tories here: for example if they go from 11% to 25% and the Tories stay on about 38%.

  9. The results history above gives a bit of a skewed impression. Because what we have pre 2005 are the actual results for dumfries.

    But this seat is NOT simply dumfries with a longer name despite the note above “2005 name changwd from dumfries” .
    Although labour would have won in 2001 the lead would have been nothing like 8,000 votes. I think rallings and thrasher had it notionally at around 5,000. And even that looks optiistic given the actual result in 2005.

    If labour win here as they should, they will probably struggle for the time being to amass a majority much in excess of 2,000.

  10. I dont think labour will actually improve much in Scotland in 2015 to be honest. More likely a slight fall.

  11. I agree with Joe, I think Scotland could be quite disappointing for Labour in 2015 – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Labour lose a couple of seats to the SNP (Dundee W and Falkirk)

  12. I doubt the SNP will do well in 2015 though. More likely very little change. As the whole issue of total independence will have been settled, perhaps some of the bitternmesss will have drained away, earning the Tories some respect and a few more votes. More seats is another matter though, except perhaps from the libs

  13. I think the Eric Joyce effect in Falkirk and the SNP local strength could give them an advantage (even the Labour selection is mired in controversy at the moment).

    I also think the SNP have a decent chance in Dundee W with the right candidate – again they have local strength and easily won the equivalent Scottish parliamentary seat.

  14. It’s worth recalling that 2010 actually saw a swing to Labour in Scotland. It therefore wouldn’t be astonishing if there was a fallback in 2015, but I think that will depend upon how the referendum goes (always assuming they don’t vote for independence, in which case I guess the question is moot.)

    As for Falkirk, Labour don’t seem to be in the best shape there, but there is evidence to suggest that Joyce had a negative personal vote and that without him we might be in slightly better shape.

  15. Scotland seats are notoriously difficult to predict normally, let alone during a period of coalition UK government. Many factors come into play which I don’t need to go into here – we all know that Scotland can swing directly opposite to the rest of the UK at GE time for various reasons.
    Certainly having Ed as leader, not Gordon, is likely to only add to the swing against Labour in 2015, not to mention the reports on here of internal strife up here.

    Lib Dem will lose especially their leftwing votes for being in coalition with Cons.

    Cons are in government – but then they didn’t make any headway at all here in 2010. 1992 shows that after 13 years in government Scotland actually swung towards them when Labour were out of favour here (relatively).

    SNP should in theory be overall main beneficiaries here just for not being any of the above and having performed with competence at Holyrood, if they don’t do anything silly before 2015. That said, who knows how Scotland momentum could go elsewhere if there is a resounding ‘NO’ vote to independence?

    UKIP – lower support here than elsewhre in the UK, Farage talks about Scotland being fertile ground but I have no idea whether this will translate into much seious effort here or not. I wouldn’t expect them to pick up seats – unless they’re the ones to pick up the momentum after a ‘No’ vote as the other parties are all still unpopular and because Farage is particular clever. However, they could still be spoilers for Cons and SNP in particular imo.

    Summary – I believe Cons may well see some swing towards them – no doubt patchy but potentially from all the other 3 parties – and probably not at all if they get a resounding defeat UK-wide. Possible gains (some of which I would never put on the list if they were in England, but Scotland dynamics are so-o-o different it seems) are as below, 1 being half-decent prospect at least and 2 being less likely (in any case I would never expect them to get the majority of these even if they do well nationally, it’s just that these are all possible imho):

    Angus 1
    Banff / Buchan 2
    Perth / N Perthshire 2
    Aberd. W / Kincardine 1
    Argyll / Bute 2
    Berwick, Rox & Selkirk 2
    N-E Fife 2
    Dumf / Galloway 2
    Edin S-W 2 (but only if Darling decides not to stand)
    Renfrew E. 2 (and probably only if the very astute Murphy decides not to stand)
    Stirling 2

    Think they’ll hold Mundell’s seat unless it’s a catastrophic year.

  16. The Tories will most likely hold DC&T, and Berwickshire is an outside shot.

    Everything else on your list is zero chance of a Con gain in 2015. Except for Berwickshire, if the Lib Dems lose seats it will be to Labour in the central belt and to the SNP further north.

  17. Why are there so many seats in Scotland in the first place? Surely now they have their own parliament there is no need for so many Scottish MPs to sit in Westminster.

    It time to cut the number down by half. The same applies to Wales.

  18. I see no chance of Murphy deciding not to stand again. He’s got Shadow Defence for as long as he wants it, and further promotion is by no means unlikely. And he’ll only be 47 in May 2015, so it’s not like he’s running out of time.

  19. “Why are there so many seats in Scotland in the first place? Surely now they have their own parliament there is no need for so many Scottish MPs to sit in Westminster.

    It time to cut the number down by half. The same applies to Wales.”

    That would never get past the Lib Dems in the coalition.

    The only way to do it would be through a “devo max” compromise after the likely failure of the independence referendum.

    If we leave it to Labour to negotiate devo-max after they’ve won the 2015 election, they will probably not insist on any seat reductions, so it’s in Cameron’s insistence to do it straight after 2014.

  20. so it’s in Cameron’s *interest* to do it straight after 2014.

  21. H.hemmelig puts his finger on the nub of why this government is so truely terrible. It is because the right policies simply cannot be carried through. The things that britain so desperately needs now are blocked for partisan reasons and EVERYTHING this government does is geared towards political convenience.

    In short we have government that giverns in its own interest before that of the country.

    For what its worth i agree that scotland at least requires a radical cut in its westminster allocation. After devo-max it must return no more than 20 westminster seats.
    …assuming of course they don’t go for the even more radical option of independence. An outcome i can’t honestly get myself too upset about however hard i try .

  22. And those such as JJB above who think failure of the independence vote in 2014 would lead to the SNP support falling back are living on Planet Zog.

    In most comparable situations eg. Quebec that is certainly not what happened to the separatist party.

    From a Tory point of view the worst case would be devo-max introduced by Labour with no Westminster seat reductions, leaving a Labour government in place virtually in perpetuity on 35% of the national vote as a result of 50 phantom Scottish Labour MPs with little to do.

  23. I’m pretty sure the Conservatives will hold this seat in 2015 because Labour did much better than expected in Scotland in 2010 with a Scottish leader.

  24. Agreed

  25. Yes, it’s unlikely that Murphy stands down in 2015

    And even without him, I wouldn’t trust the local Tories too much…at Holyrood the boundary commission gifted them Eastwood/Renfrew E in 2011 taking out the biggest Labour voting area….and they still managed to lose it

  26. I agree with H.Hemmelig that there is absolutely no chance of the Tories gaining any seats from the SNP. It’s almost unlikely as that that Labour would, either – though I don’t think Dundee E is completely impossible in the event of a very strong Labour performance in Scotland. I do however see the SNP probably holding all their existing seats, and gaining some more from the LDs, and with Ochil clearly at risk for Labour too, and maybe Dundee W too. I really wouldn’t rule out a Labour gain in this particular constituency, even though Labour hotspots are few and far between – I think it’s likely to be very close between the 2 parties.

  27. Of course Jim Murphy will stand again, barring some amazing scandal. He is, whether one likes him or not (and I’m not a fan of his politics at all), a big hitter in the Labour Party.
    It is simply not feasible or desirable to halve the seats in Scotland – in fact, it shows, in my view, deep lack of democracy to propound it. There cannot be 2 classes of MPs at Westminster. If we are to continue to have MPs representing Scottish seats at Westminster – which surely all you good Tories & Unionists want – the seats HAVE to be of comparable size to those in England, which indeed they broadly are now, with obvious exceptions in the Outer Hebrides & Orkney/Shetland. Either we have proper MPs at Westminster or we don’t. It is arguable that some Scottish MPs shouldn’t vote on certain issues which are devolved, but that is already very often the case. Unless we are to have an English parliament, MPs can’t be in 2 separate categories, however convenient that might be to those who want a Tory government. We cannot have citizens under-represented – other than in certain special cases, such as the Isle of Wight, where the majority of the population appear to prefer such a state of affairs.

  28. “It is arguable that some Scottish MPs shouldn’t vote on certain issues which are devolved”

    But if that were the case under devo-max, Scottish MPs would hardly be able to vote on anything at all.

    Your argument is fair enough as things stand today, but under devo-max I think Scotland’s number of MPs would have to be substantially reduced. After all that is what happened in Northern Ireland before direct rule.

  29. Barnabys point is fair (id argue that Jim Murphy is one of the most impressive Labour MPs but we would have to agree to disagree there, ditto on the Isle of Wight point).

    Its not fair that the Scotch would get underrepresented in some issues and over in others, we just need them to not vote on English only issues. Its very simple.

    They might not have much to do as Hemmelig suggests in terms of votes, but im sure that sitting on panels and commitees wouldn’t be objectionable.

  30. Just to clarify, I wasn’t every suggesting that Jim Murphy might by considering to stand down, just that his seat is that bit harder to reach for Tories whilst he’s there because he is a good politician.

    I love these “absolutely no chance” statements on relatively ordinary chances (such as whether one party COULD win any seats from A. N. Other party) two years out from an election. It will be interesting to look back on threads like these in 2015. 🙂

  31. I respectfully disagree with Barnaby on this issue. The Scottish people would have a bona fide Scottish parliament under Devo Max. Therefore, their need for representation at Westminster would be much reduced. You would only have 2 classes if the Scottish people merely had an Assembly. And as H Hemmelig pointed out, there is a historical precedent for it with Northern Ireland.

  32. Where I do agree with Barnaby is that the Tories will not gain seats from the SNP. Their only hope is picking up a couple from the Lib Dems and I have to say I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic even about that.

  33. “H.Hemmelig
    And those such as JJB above who think failure of the independence vote in 2014 would lead to the SNP support falling back are living on Planet Zog. ”

    It’s about time you learnt some manners.
    Only you know whether you talk like this face to face
    or behind a keyboard.

  34. Actually – I said they would not do well in 2015
    not that they’d fall back.

    Read what’s in front of you please.

  35. I think it would lead to a fall in SNP support.

    I think the Zog inhabitants are those who think it will benefit the tories.

  36. I see little other way to add 1 or 2% in Scotland – and the polls – for what they are worth in sub sample – seem to show C support holding there.
    As this is now decision time.

    Of course, by allowing Labour to be the Unionist party and run the campaign, the Tories may get little look in.

  37. “Everything else on your list is zero chance of a Con gain in 2015”

    I think the Conservatifves could gain Aberdeenshire West but only in some sort of 4 way photo finish similar to Inverness in 1992.

  38. I think that there will have to be some sort of devolution to the regions should devo-max take place. Given that the different parts of the country are politically moving apart, I think its the only realistic option.

  39. A four-way photo finish in Aberdeenshire West would be impressive for Labour. The new housing in Portlethen has benefited us and we just sneaked the final seat in Stonehaven in the 2012 locals, but there’s really very little that resembles a base for us in the seat.

  40. Yes it’s basically a 3-way rather than a 4-way contest.

  41. The first question to answer is not whether David Mundell will lose, but why is he is still there.

    Only local knowledge can answer that.

    The Con vote in Scotland is down to the loyal core vote. They lose a few to the crematorium, but not to other parties.

    Labour in Scotland may lose a few votes in Scotland because they did well under Gordon Brown but this will be offset by gains from Libdems who will lose many votes.

    About twice as many LibDem votes are likely to go to the SNP as Labour, but they are too far behind to take the seat.

    It looks to me like a Con hold with a slightly reduced majority and LibDems struggling to hang on to third place.

  42. How would this seat have voted in 1997 and 2001 – Lib Dem?

  43. Notional Labour majority in 2001 of over 5000.

    Similar Labour majority in 1997 and a Conservative majority of close to 10000 in 1992.

  44. Thanks Dalek

    That surprises me as prior to 2005, the Lib Dems had two seats in this part of Scotland – Roxbourough & Berwickshire and Tweedale & Ettrick – both of which seemed pretty safe.

    Yet after the 2005 boundary changes the party was left with one seat which had a similar majority to the two that had been abolished

    Where did those other Lib Dem votes go?

  45. The notionals were pretty obviously wrong – as in neighbouring Dumfries & Galloway which was supposedly a Tory seat in 2001.

    In reality this seat would have been too close to call between Con and Lab in both 1997 and 2001.

  46. Yes, given how the Tories suffered a (comparatively) low swing in Scotland in 1997, it is hard to envisage a 10,000 Tory majority in 1992 turning into a 5000 Labour majority in 1997.

  47. I dont think the Lib Dem vote went anywhere.

    Only Tweeddale has a history of voting Liberal and it is the smaller of the three areas, Clydesdale is slightly more Labour inclined while Dumfriesshire more Tory

  48. I’m quite sure that H.Hemmelig is right re the notional position in this seat. The results here & in Dumfries/Galloway in 2005 clearly suggest that the psephologists underestimated the strength of Labour’s lead in the town of Dumfries itself, compared with its eponymous county. Therefore probably this seat in 2005 was a notional Conservative hold, not a gain. I still think that the Tories are at serious risk here, but there are very few areas of clear Labour majority strength and they could yet survive. But not by a lot.

  49. ‘Only Tweeddale has a history of voting Liberal and it is the smaller of the three areas, Clydesdale is slightly more Labour inclined while Dumfriesshire more Tory’

    So too Roxburgh & Berwickshire, which had been Lib Dem since its creation in 1983

  50. Roxburgh and Berwickshire aren’t in this seat. Counterintuitive as it may seem, they are in the Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk constituency. I agree with HH and Barnaby re: the notional position in 1997 and 2001

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