McAlpine contacts Buckingham Palace and Downing Street over Dumfries City Status

Joan McAlpine has contacted Buckingham Palace and Downing Street in her campaign to move Dumfries towards city status

The former MSP has asked Her Majesty the Queen's Private Secretary when the next opportunity to bid for city status is likely to happen.

City status is a gift of the monarch in consultation with her ministers, which is the reason why Ms McAlpine also wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron shortly before the dissolution of The Scottish Parliament.

Ms McAlpine explained: "The Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was the last time a city was created and before that it was the millennium. So we need to know the next likely opportunity so that we can all work together to prepare a Dumfriesshire bid.

"I have therefore written to Sir Christopher Geidt, Private Secretary to The Queen, asking for his advice. As he is a former Scots Guard with strong links here I'm hoping he will look to us with sympathy!"

In her letter to David Cameron, Ms McAlpine emphasised Dumfries's role as a regional capital and the need for infrastructure spending.

"My desire to revive the city status campaign was triggered by the UK Government's programme of investing in city regions. This means that towns and villages across the county would benefit alongside Dumfries.

"The city regions are core funded by the UK and the Scottish Government then match funds them - although in some cases recently the Scottish Government has ended up putting in more cash. It is really important that we don't lose out in these infrastructure projects because we are a rural area with no city at our heart."

Ms McAlpine revealed that she had met up with Mark Jardine who put together the city bid of 2012 that was disallowed because the council failed to back it.

"The Peoples Project 2012 bid was well put together and may even have won if the council had backed it.

"If we get another opportunity it is really important we all work together to make it a success. I think there is a better understanding today of the benefits.

"However in my letter to the Prime Minister I have pointed out that even without the immediate "coronation" as a city, Dumfries's status as a regional capital should qualify it for consideration for capital injections to benefit transport links in particular. I know I could use my influence to bring the Scottish Government on board and I have already told John Swinney the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Deputy First Minister of Scotland of my plans."

Ms McAlpine is the SNP candidate for Dumfriesshire in the 5th May election to the Scottish Parliament.

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