South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed “long-overdue” plans to re-unite the town of Dumfries in a single seat in proposals for new UK Parliament constituencies.
The town was split by the Boundary Commission for Scotland the last time a review into UK constituency boundaries took place ahead of the 2005 UK General Election. Most of Dumfries was placed in a new Dumfries and Galloway Constituency but Kingholm Quay, Castledykes and even part of Georgetown was put in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency- which was labelled a “Frankenstein” seat because it contained parts of four existing constituencies at the time. The original plans published more than a decade ago also proposed splitting Locharbriggs and Heathhall from the rest of the town but a local campaign reversed this move and now Colin Smyth believes that re-uniting the whole of Dumfries in one seat is the completion of “unfinished business”.
Commenting on the plans Colin Smyth said, “It was an act of vandalism when a decade ago the Boundary Commission broke up the town of Dumfries, so I welcome this long-overdue proposal to re-unite our town. It’s just a shame the town is still split down the middle when it comes to Scottish Parliament constituencies. At the time of the last UK Parliament review we stopped the Commission tearing Locharbriggs and Heathhall out of Dumfries with a big local campaign but bringing the rest of town back together again has been unfinished business. “
“Unfortunately, the decision by the UK Government to cut the number of Scottish constituencies by two means there isn’t room for much change so it looks as if, notwithstanding these tweaks, the widely criticised Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale Constituency will remain in place. The fact it cut across three councils and health boards as well as four Scottish Parliament seats meant it had little public support when it was created and I suspect that remains the case now. But sadly these exercises are all about numbers and have nothing to do with communities.”
The publication of the new constituency proposals today (14 October) marks the start of a 8-week public consultation on the proposals, running until the end of Wednesday 8 December 2021.
Scotland has been allocated 57 constituencies for the 2023 Review, two fewer than at present.