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”
  1. That Edinburgh South notionally is wrong: it appears that the constituency also covers part of the City Centre ward? If so awful for Murray!!!

  2. Boundaries are actually less favourable for the Conservatives than I had first thought: they’re in with a fighting chance in Dumfries & Galloway, Clydesdale & Eskdale and Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk for 2020 – possibly even in Ayr & Carrick.

    Beyond that their next best constituency is Edinburgh South – chances are there will be significant tactical voting in favour of Labour here.

    Then it’s Cunninghame North and then Gordon & Deeside, which are frankly too out-of-reach for the party to be taken as serious targets!

  3. Cunninghame East sorry*

  4. Boundaries are officially up: https://www.bcs2018.org.uk/

  5. Lanark & Hamilton East is being divided in two. Hamiton East is joining Motherwell to become Motherwell & Hamilton while Lanark and urban Clydesdale are being merged with most of David Mundell’s constituency.

    Do you think that we will see Lanark & Hamilton East’s SNP MP (Angela Crawley) going head to head with David Mundell?

  6. I think David Mundell will retire in 2020.

  7. I do think the boundaries are more challenging for him. He would not have won on these boundaries in 2005, 2010 or 2015.

    Looking at the new constituencies, I only see any challenge from the Conservatives in –

    Ayr & Carrick
    Berwickshire Roxburgh & Selkirk
    Clydesdale & Eskdale
    Dumfries & Galloway
    Edinburgh South West & Central

    The following are all complete long shots –

    Aberdeen South
    Cunninghame East
    Gordon & Deeside
    Moray & Nairn

    I also don’t understand “Clackmannan & Stirling North” and “Stirling South”. I think that we will end up with a Stirling Constituency based on the council with Falkirk’s Denny Ward and the other Falkirk wards not in the Falkirk constituency in a Clackmannanshire & Falkirk North Constituency.

  8. @ Dalek – The Tories will not be competitive in Edinburgh Pentlands and Livingston!!!

    As for Edinburgh South: had Ian Murray not been elected in 2015 they’d probably be very competitive in Edinburgh South however, with the massive tactical vote for Labour in the area (as witnessed by the Edinburgh Southern result in 2016) I really can’t see the Conservatives surpassing the SNP and Labour here for atleast one election cycle unless it is a very strong night for them nationally: that is assuming of course that the boundaries remain in place.

  9. Edinburgh South West & Central is the new name for South not South West. I never suggested the Conservatives would be competitive in Edinburgh Pentlands & Livingston.

  10. I think the Tories main chances are the three southern seats, and then it gets pretty difficult for them. I guess Ayr & Carrick is about as good a seat as they could realistically hope for, given the size of the new seats. Edinburgh South West and Central might work out for them in the long tern, but probably not till Ian Murray is either defeated or retires.

  11. I’d have thought the Tories prospects are limited to the three southern seats. Ayr & Carrick is about as good a seat as they could have got, given the size of the new seats, and I guess they could compete in a good year. Edinburgh South West and Central (worst name of the review?) should be good for them, but won’t unless Ian Murray leaves the scene.

  12. Commenting fail. Apologies.

  13. Yes I agree: without crossing the Ayrshire-Galloway line there’s no justifying a constituency in Ayr and Kyle making Ayr and Carrick the best arrangement possible for the party. There is a chance of a Conservative gain here, though I’m fairly skeptical.

  14. This shocked me, sketchy notional for Clydesdale and Eskdale (2015):

    40% CON
    39% SNP
    14% LAB
    6% OTH

  15. Labour should be 15%*

  16. So it looks like the Lib Dems and the SNP are the big winners from the review? Both the Tories and Labour could conceivably end up with no seats at all, with their current Scottish vote shares.

    As NTY UK suggested, a big chunk of Bearsden is being put in with West Dunbartonshire. That certainly helps the SNP, by splitting Bearsden and Milngavie into two seats with more solid areas for them.

    So at this stage I think that the winners, in order, seem to be-

    (1) The SNP

    (2) The Lib Dems

    (3) The Tories

    (4) Labour

    There’s not a huge amount between (3) and (4), I think, but Labour are getting shafted in East Renfrewshire and Edinburgh South, which were just about their only hopes for 2020.

  17. Yes….academics has projected Scotland in 2015 as –

    SNP 52
    LD 1

  18. My favourite feature is the fact that Comrie would be sharing a seat with Cowdenbeath. I would have loved to listen in to the discussion that came up with that one…

  19. No the Liberal Democrats are the main beneficiaries of these new boundaries as they keep both Edinburgh West and North East Fife (even the boundaries in Caithness, Gordon and Argyll are just about as good as possible for the party), conceivably it couldn’t get much better for them!

    The boundaries for the Conservatives are OK. I read that John Curtice also believes that the proposed Clydesdale and Eskdale constituency very narrowly went Tory in 2015, so I’m relatively confident with my notional there. They have better boundaries in Dumfries and Galloway and are realistically competitive in the three southern constituencies in Scotland, plus potentially Ayr and Carrick.

    The boundaries are ok for the SNP but they keep Edinburgh West, Dumfries and Galloway and North East Fife, and create a new constituency which they could miss out in (Ayr and Carrick) – it’s not fantastic for them however they are advantaged by the boundaries in Gordon and Edinburgh South.

    And as you say they’re awful for Labour, but that’s mostly because Labour are only relevant in one or two constituencies in Scotland at the most.

  20. On the same rationale, I don’t see why Newton Mearns isn’t sharing a seat with Kilmarnock, or Corstorphine with Livingston…

  21. “On the same rationale, I don’t see why Newton Mearns isn’t sharing a seat with Kilmarnock, or Corstorphine with Livingston…”

    Neither are…Corstorphine is in Edinburgh West, its Pentland Hills that shares its MP with Livingston. Newton Mearns will share its MP with Loudon, not Kilmarnock.

  22. NTY UK,

    I think that getting rid of East Dunbartonshire helps the SNP quite a bit and hurts the Lib Dems. Also, there are some major contortions in Mid-Scotland to prize apart relatively Tory-voting parts of Stirling and Perthshire. And the changes in East Renfrewshire/Loudoun help the SNP.

    On the other hand, I have only just noticed the new Angus/Broughty Ferry constituency, which probably won’t be a problem for the SNP, but makes their lives a bit more awkward by putting the Tories’ best area in Dundee into a seat with rural Angus and takes out Arbroath & Montrose. I also hadn’t noticed Ayr and Carrick – very interesting, especially since it contains Troon.

    My current ranking is-

    (1) Lib Dems

    (2) SNP

    (3) Tories

    (4) Labour

    – but of course this is just for fun: I’m using it to think about how new seats will probably vote.

  23. Dalek,

    My point is that they could have come up with some very silly boundaries, to mirror the mixing of Comrie with Cowdenbeath.

  24. From the SNP’s point of view, I don’t think these are great. Edinburgh is bad for them, as West is largely retained, and South West and Central would start off with Ian Murray as favourite imo. The Ayrshire ones aren’t great – Ayr and Carrick is not ideal, and Cunninghame East is a pretty middle-class seat, which would be vulnerable if the Tories and Labour don’t split the opposition vote. NE Fife is another vulnerable seat where they may actually prefer NTYUK’s South Tayside because the Lib Dems and Tories will squabble over challenger rights. The main area that the SNP will probably like these changes is the North East.

  25. Don’t suppose there are any official notionals at this stage?

  26. @ Simon – none. John Curtice did say that Clydesdale and Eskdale was probably narrowly Tory in 2015 and that Edinburgh South West and Central was certainly not Labour.

    Cunninghame East is probably a better constituency for the SNP than Ayr and Carrick to be honest: my notionals suggest that they were well ahead in Cunninghame East in 2016 whilst in Ayr and Carrick the contest was much closer (my notionals suggest that the SNP were ahead of the Tories here by only 2% of the vote).

  27. On the constituency side of the vote that is. Even on the list vote Ayr & Carrick is significantly better for the Tories imo, though they are limited as their vote here in 2016 was already through the roof at around 41.5%…!

  28. Yeah, my point with Cunninghame East is more that there were other options for Eastwood/East Renfrewshire that were better for the SNP, so although they’d be favourites it’s probably not the boundaries they’d choose for that part of the world.

  29. @ Simon – the arrangement in the south/south west of Scotland is just about ideal for the Conservatives, you couldn’t gerrymander it much better for them: Ayr & Carrick, Cunninghame East, Dumfries & Galloway and Clydesdale & Eskdale are all just about ideal for them. The real let down for them is Gordon & Deeside which is a very unlikely target for the party: had that constituency excluded Ellon and included Banchory the Conservatives would have be competitive here.

  30. Yeah, the only change in the south that would be better for the Tories would be to have Midlothian and Galashiels rather than Midlothian and Peebles. Then again, they should pick up the Borders seat unless things go badly wrong for them by 2020.

  31. I agree with that one: their biggest gains in 2016 compared with 2015 were in Ayr and the Borders (they took more votes here than in 2015: enough votes to win in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk very comparably on a high turnout). It would be a poor night for the Tories to lose out in Clydesdale & Annandale and Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

    I wonder how conceivable Tory gains are in Ayr & Carrick and Dumfries & Galloway.

  32. @NTYUK The Deeside and Gordon seat does exclude most of Ellon ward and all of Ellon proper. The only part of the ward included in Gordon is Foveran and Newburgh which is the most unionist area in the ward.

    I would argue Gordon and Deeside isn’t a disaster for the unionist parties. Ideally it would have included Banchory but by taking out the two Donside wards, plus Kincardine, Stonehaven and Mearns you couldn’t really have asked for a better seat for the two unionist parties.

  33. Ayr & Carrick is less favourable for the party than the existing West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine constituency though!

  34. It should be yes. Gordon and Deeside is virtually impossible for the Tories to gain be honest – they have a better chance taking Edinburgh South West & Central.

  35. I don’t see how John Curtis can possibly regard the new Clydesdale & Eskdale as a Conservative marginal. It has for more in common with the pre-2005 Clydesdale than Dumfries.

    The Tories beat Labour in Clydesdale last May but we’re still a long way behind the SNP. The exclusion of Lesmahagow will increase the Conservatives margin over Labour last May but Dumfriesshire would need to be solidly Tory to outvote the SNP in Clydesdale.

  36. My notionals do suggest that the Eskdale side of the constituency was massively Conservative and that they narrowly managed to poll ahead in the proposed constituency in 2015…

  37. Effectively it includes all of the old Clydesdale constituency except Larkhall, Stonehouse and Lesmahagow. These small towns and Dumfries town must have been rock solidly Labour.

  38. Clydesdale & Eskdale Notional

    NAT 22,676 39.9%
    CON 18,222 32.1%
    LAB 12,555 22.1%
    UKIP 1,528 2.7%
    LIB 1,027 1.8%
    Green 839 1.5%
    OTH 1 0.0%
    NAT Majority 4,454 7.8%

    Still a potential Conservative target but Mundell may “retire”.

  39. I think you’re being a little too generous on Electoral Calculus by calling their figures “notionals”!

  40. @NYTUK some of their figures for England I don’t think are too bad seen as they are mostly based on local elections held on the same day (and most places in England had local elections in 2015). The Scottish ones do look wide of the mark though.

  41. I think they can give an indication but are obviously not as accurate a more scientific methods.

  42. They are not accurate.

    I have the figures for the Ayr constituency in the SP for 2015 and electoral calculus are miles off.

  43. Also lets not forget they actually have 0.0% liberal democrat in many wards…

  44. That seems accurate enough based on last year

  45. The boundary changes for Scotland have transformed Scotland two remaining mainland Unionist constituencies into SNP seats. Labour’s Ian Murray now has to overturn a notional SNP majority of over 7500 and the successor to David Mundell’s seat will a notional SNP majority of over 4000.

    The latest Holyrood poll suggests that Labour will lose all three of their constituencies and the Conservatives will lose Aberdeenshire West, Ayr, Eastwood, Edinburgh Central and Galloway & West Dumfries.

  46. I don’t think the notional results for electoral calculus are accurate and even if they were I would not read too much into them.

    The redrawn Edinburgh South (with the exception of Oxgangs) is extremely middle class and despite it being better for the Tories it is almost certainly worse for the SNP in the context of 2020. I wouldn’t completely rule out a strong Tory challenge but would still give Murray a strong chance due to incumbency.

    There are a lot of non tribal anti independence middle class voters in Edinburgh who maybe vote Tory at a local level but who are prepared to vote tactically on the constituency vote as Simon and NTY UK have correctly pointed out.

    Electoral calculus is basing the results on the 2012 ections when Labour was still strong in working class areas before the SNP surge. The idea that the SNP was only notionally 4% ahead of Labour in The new’ Edinburgh East’ when it contains the most indepence friendly areas of the city is surely garbage.

  47. I don’t think the 2016 pre-election polls suggested the Tories would gain any of them in the first place (indeed most were predicting Ayr and GWD would be lost). Even the 2015 exit poll pointed to the Tories losing this seat so we’ll see on the night, as always

  48. @ Paul D – yes that’s very true. The closing opinion polls in 2016 would’ve meant SNP gains in Ayr, Dumbarton, Dumfriesshire and Galloway & West Dumfries if they were true.

  49. “I needn’t remind anyone of my predictions and how they were dismissed by most on here”

    You also believed that the Tories would gain three or four Westminster constituencies in 2015 and predicted a Tory vote of 60% at the Witney by-election. Need I remind you that you are not infallible 🙂

    More than ever I think that the results of the 2020 UK general election in Scotland will come down to the election campaign.

  50. I’m going to say the Tories will make substantial gains in their number of councillors but probably not run many/any councils. They won 115 last time I think so I’m going to predict they pass the 200 barrier based on their vote share this year in the elections and byelections.

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