THE CONSERVATIVES have held onto Dumfriesshire with a significantly increased majority.
It means Oliver Mundell will continue to serve as the constituency’s MSP.
He received 19,487 votes, which is 5951 more than in 2016 and 4066 more than the SNPs Joan McAlpine.
McAlpine increased her share by 3.8 per cent with 15,421 votes and still hopes to make it into Holyrood on the South Scotland regional list, which is being announced tomorrow.
Meanwhile, it was a grim result in Dumfriesshire for Labour, with Colin Smyth receiving 4671 votes, shrinking his 2016 vote share by 13.8 per cent. However, Smyth is also hopeful he will be reelected as a South Scotland MSP.
Speaking following the declaration, Oliver Mundell said: “On a personal level, I feel relieved, but for local people I feel pleased, I feel the result represents the very strong feeling in this area that our region is forgotten about but also that the SNP and their plans for independence ignore what that would mean for people living in this area and the potential for a border at Gretna has weighed very heavy in people’s minds.
“I think there are a lot of people who have supported me in this election who are not traditional conservative voters who have taken a look at the options and they’ve voted tactically to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon to say that they want to focus on rebuilding the country, not tearing it apart.”
Reacting to the wider result so far across the country, where the SNP have made a number of gains from the Conservatives, he added: “I feel very sorry for my other colleagues who’ve not done as well and obviously this win’s a boost for morale, we’ve got another seat in Galloway and West Dumfries that I’m hopeful we’ll do well in tomorrow when it’s counted.”
Asked of his ambitions for the constituency over the next five year term, he replied: “I think it’s beginning to build on the work that the South of Scotland Enterprise agency is doing and I think the biggest challenge foe our area is an ageing population, we see a net outflow of young people and I want to see jobs and opportunities here so that young people have a choice to stay and have their family and live their life in Dumfries and Galloway.”
Joan McAlpine said after the result: “I think it shows that Dumfriesshire doesn’t speak with one voice; we used to be called the debatable lands and there should be a debate about our future, 15,000 people in Dumfriesshire rejected Boris Johnson’s tories, they believe that Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands.
“We increased our share of the vote significantly, another 3000 votes added to our total from 2016, so I think everybody has to respect that. I did congratulate Oliver on his success and I look forward to having debates with him and others about the future of Scotland.
“Things are looking good for the party and here in the South of Scotland we made two constituency gains in East Lothian and Ayr and that’s really good news and again it shows that Boris Johnson cannot continue to deny the people Scotland a say on their future.”