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MSPs clash over Dumfries city status bid

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
MSPs clash over Dumfries city status bid

A CAMPAIGN to turn Dumfries into a city is struggling to find cross-party support.

Joan McAlpine failed to win the Dumfriesshire seat in the Scottish Elections last week, but after being returned as an MSP through the regional ‘List’ vote has approached Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell.
Noting that the newly elected Conservative politician said in his victory speech that he would look to work with her on ideas she had raised to boost jobs and investment, Ms McAlpine said: “Our local SNP campaign was very positive and offered constructive ways to take the region forward – such as lobbying for city region status to unleash UK government infrastructure investment.
“I am pleased that the new MSP has acknowledged that, and I would be delighted to accept his invitation to work with him in parliament to promote these ideas.”
In addition to the city idea, Ms McAlpine notes Deputy First Minister John Swinney agreed to her request that the Government hold a transport summit in Dumfries aimed at setting out goals to better link the constituency to the rest of Scotland and upgrade the A75.
Responding to Ms McAlpine’s approach, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell said: “I welcome Joan McAlpine’s continued commitment to Dumfriesshire following the election last week and I look forward to working with her in her role as a regional MSP to deliver for our communities across the next five years.”
“Unfortunately, when it comes renaming Dumfries a city I remain to be convinced that local people support this approach.
“Instead we need to be focusing our priorities on promoting ourselves as a vibrant county town and developing a business hub.
“I believe this is best achieved by looking to attract funding for a county deal or a shared city deal with Carlisle like the Scottish Borders did with Edinburgh or as we have seen in Devon and Cornwall.”
“This way our whole region would benefit and we would gain additional flexibility without changing the character of Dumfries and diminishing its key selling points as close-knit and friendly place to live.”
He added: “Instead, I would like to see the SNP Government work with local MSPs to deliver swift action when it comes to improving our transport infrastructure.”


26th Feb

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter | DNG24