Politics of Dundee

Politics in the Dundee City (Mòr-bhaile Dhùn Dèagh in Gaelic) council area are evident in the deliberations and decisions of Dundee City Council, in elections to the council, and in elections to the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) and the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster).

Dundee

Dùn Dèagh

Admin HQDundee
Government
  BodyDundee City Council
  ControlSNP majority
  MPs
  MSPs
Area
  Total23.10 sq mi (59.83 km2)
Area rankRanked 32nd
Population
 (mid-2018 est.)
  Total148,750
  RankRanked 14th
  Density6,400/sq mi (2,500/km2)
ONS codeS12000042
ISO 3166 codeGB-DND
Websitewww.dundeecity.gov.uk

In the European Parliament, the city area is within the Scotland constituency, which covers all of the 32 council areas of Scotland.

Dundee City became a single-tier council in 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994,[1] with the boundaries of the City of Dundee district of the Tayside region, minus a Monifieth area and part of a Sidlaw area, which were transferred from the city area to the new council area of Angus. The city district was also the administrative centre for the region.

The new city council area was named The City of Dundee in the legislation of 1994, but this was changed to Dundee City by a council resolution on 29 June 1995, under section 23 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c. 65).[2] In terms of area, it is the smallest of Scotland's council areas.

The district had been created in 1975, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, to include: the former county of city of Dundee; a Monifieth area, including the burgh of Monifieth (but not Newtyle and Kettins areas), previously within the county of Angus; and a Longforgan area previously within the county of Perth.

The county of city was created in 1894, and the city area has included the burgh of Broughty Ferry since 1913. Dundee has been a royal burgh since 1191.

City council

Council meetings take place in the City Chambers, located in City Square. They were opened in 1933.

The council executive is based in Dundee House on North Lindsay Street.

Composition and control

The council consists of 29 councillors:

The SNP gained a majority on the council after the 2012 elections. In the previous council, the SNP had the largest number of seats but the council was initially controlled by a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition, with the support of the Conservatives. This changed after a March 2009 By Election result which tipped the balance further in the SNPs direction.[3][4] However the 2017 contest saw the SNP lose their majority, although they remained the largest party with 14 councillors. Labour also lost one seat, while the Conservatives gained two seats and Liberal Democrats also gained an additional councillor.[5]

Until 2019, the council was governed by an SNP-led administration, with the support of the sole independent member. Councillor John Alexander. SNP group leader was also the leader of Dundee City Council.

In a 2019 by-election, the SNP won a seat from Labour, giving it an overall majority.[6] The SNP lost its majority again a few weeks later when Councillor Gregor Murray quit the party after accusing it of being transphobic.[7] Shortly after this announcement, Councillor Murray was suspended from the council for two months by the Standards Commission for Scotland for using a "derogatory word" in an online forum which was judged to be "highly offensive and inappropriate".[8]

The council has a history of Labour Party domination. George Galloway was leader for a time, and was responsible for organising Dundee's twinning with the Palestinian city of Nablus.[9]

Positions

The civic head and chair of the council is known as the Lord Provost. In 2017, Scotland's longest serving councillor, Ian Borthwick MBE became the Lord Provost of Dundee. A number of councillors are appointed as ceremonial bailies.

The Leader of the Council, as head of the largest political grouping, is Councillor John Alexander (SNP).

Elections

Elections to the council are held on a four-year cycle, with the last on Thursday 3 May 2007.

Councillors are elected from subdivisions of the city area called wards. At present they are elected form 29 single-member wards. by the plurality (first past the post) system of election. As a result of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004,[10] eight new wards are to be introduced for the 2007 election, each electing three or four members by the single transferable vote system of election, to produce a form of proportional representation. The total number of councillors will remain the same.

Wards

1999 to 2007

Existing wards, listed below, were first used for elections in 1999. The names and parties of the final councillors in these wards are also listed:[3]

WardCouncillorParty
Ninewells Nigel Don Scottish National Party
Camperdown John Letford Labour
Balgay Bob Duncan Scottish National Party
Lochee West Jill Shimi Labour
Riverside Neil Powrie Conservative
Brackens Ian Borthwick Independent
Ardler Kevin Keenan Labour
Balgowan Rikki Beattie Scottish Nationalist
Claverhouse Andrew Dawson Scottish National Party
Whitfield Willie Sawers Scottish National Party
Longhaugh Joe Fitzpatrick Scottish National Party
Pitkerro Christina Roberts Scottish National Party
Douglas George Regan Labour
Barnhill Bruce Mackie Conservative
Balgillo Roderick Wallace Conservative
Broughty Ferry Charles Webster Conservative
West Ferry Derek Scott Conservative
Craigiebank John Corrigan Scottish National Party
Strathmartine Helen Dick Liberal Democrat
Lochee East Charles Farquhar Labour
Tay Bridges Fraser Macpherson Liberal Democrat
Logie James Barrie Scottish National Party
Law Julia Sturrock Labour
East Port William Dawson Scottish National Party
Baxter Park Elizabeth Fordyce Scottish National Party
Hilltown Fiona Grant Labour
Bowbridge Christopher Hind Labour
Stobswell Joe Morrow Labour
Fairmuir Helen Wright Labour
Created in 2007

The first elections using the new boundaries and using the STV system to vote were held on 3 May 2007. The results were

Ward Seats Councillors Party
Strathmartine 4 Stewart Hunter

Ian Borthwick

Kevin Keenan

Helen Dick

Scottish National Party(SNP)

Independent

Labour

Liberal Democrat

Lochee 4 Bob Duncan

Alan Ross[11]

John Letford[12]

Tom Ferguson

SNP

SNP

Labour

Labour

West End 4 Jim Barrie

Donald Hay

Richard McCready

Fraser McPherson

SNP

Conservative

Labour

Liberal Democrat

Coldside 4 Jimmy Black

Dave Bowes

Mohammed Asif

Helen Wright

SNP

SNP

Labour

Labour

Maryfield 3 Liz Fordyce

Ken Lynn

Craig Melville[13][14]

SNP

SNP

SNP

North East 3 Andy Dawson

Willie Sawers

Brian Gordon

SNP

SNP

Labour

East End 3 Will Dawson

Christina Roberts

George Regan

SNP

SNP

Labour

The Ferry 4 Ken Guild

Laurie Bidwell

Derek Scott

Rod Wallace

SNP

Labour

Conservative

Conservative

2012 Results
Ward Seats Councillors Party
Strathmartine 4 Stewart Hunter

Ian Borthwick

Kevin Keenan

John Alexander

Scottish National Party(SNP)

Independent

Labour

SNP

Lochee 4 Bob Duncan

Alan Ross

Norma McGovern

Tom Ferguson

SNP

SNP

Labour

Labour

West End 4 Bill Campbell

Vari McDonald

Richard McCready

Fraser McPherson

SNP

SNP

Labour

Liberal Democrat

Coldside 4 Jimmy Black

Dave Bowes

Mohammed Asif

Helen Wright

SNP

SNP

Labour

Labour

Maryfield 3 Georgia Cruickshank

Ken Lynn

Craig Melville

Labour

SNP

SNP

North East 3 Gregor Murray

Willie Sawers

Brian Gordon

SNP

SNP

Labour

East End 3 Will Dawson

Christina Roberts

Lesley Brennan

SNP

SNP

Labour

The Ferry 4 Ken Guild

Laurie Bidwell

Derek Scott

Kevin Cordell

SNP

Labour

Conservative

SNP

Independence referendum

Dundee returned the highest proportion of Yes votes of any area in Scotland in the 2014 independence referendum, with 53,620 Yes votes to 39,880 No votes. It was among only four local authority areas that backed independence. In Summer 2014, First Minister Alex Salmond said Dundee was moving "towards being Scotland's Yes city",[15] and it retained that designation in the run-up to the referendum.[16] Housing schemes in Dundee canvassed by Yes activists indicated levels of support of up to 80 per cent in favour of independence.[17]

Headlines were made in the final week of the campaign when a Better Together event in Dundee was crashed by a piper lead demonstration involving Yes activists and members of the Scottish Socialist Party, who marched from the event they were having in Albert Square to sing protest songs at Labour party representatives at the foot of Reform Street.[18]

Scottish Parliament

For elections to the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) the city area is divided between two constituencies. The Dundee City East (Holyrood) constituency and the Dundee City West (Holyrood) constituency are entirely within the city area.

Both constituencies are within the North East Scotland electoral region. The region elects a total of tenfirst past the post constituency Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and seven additional members, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

Boundaries date from 1999, when the parliament itself was created.

Currently, Shona Robison (SNP) is MSP for the Dundee City East constituency and, Joe FitzPatrick (SNP) is MSP for the Dundee City West constituency.

Parliament of the United Kingdom

For elections to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster), the city area is divided between the Dundee East (Westminster) constituency and the Dundee West (Westminster) constituency. These constituencies also include portions of the Angus council area.[19]

Current boundaries date from 2005. Prior to the 2005 general election, the constituencies had the boundaries of now existing Scottish Parliament constituencies, with north-eastern and north-western portions of the city area being covered by the Angus (Westminster) constituency.

Currently, Stewart Hosie (Scottish National Party) is Member of Parliament (MP) for the Dundee East constituency, and Chris Law (Scottish National Party) is MP for the Dundee West constituency.

Historic constituencies

As a royal burgh, Dundee was represented as a component of the Perth Burghs constituency from 1708 to 1832, when the Dundee burgh constituency was created. In 1868 the burgh constituency became a two-member constituency.

East and West single-member constituencies have existed, with varying boundaries, since 1950.

Notes and references

  1. Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, full text, Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website
    OPSI home page
  2. Edinburgh Gazette, 7 July 1995
  3. Dundee City Council Political Make-up Archived 8 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Dundee City Council website
  4. Dundee Tory leader hits out at critic Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Evening Telegraph (publisher DC Thomson), 28 February 2005
  5. Lord, Dave. "Council elections: SNP lose majority in Dundee". The Courier. D C Thomson Co Ltd. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  6. Brady, Jon (3 May 2019). "BREAKING: SNP reclaims Dundee council majority as Steven Rome wins North East by-election". Dundee Evening Telegraph. DC Thomson. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  7. Morkis, Stefan. "EXCLUSIVE: Dundee councillor Gregor Murray quits SNP over party's 'institutional transphobia'". The Courier. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  8. "Councillor suspended over 'inappropriate' online comments". BBC News. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  9. As council leader, he flew the Palestinian flag over Dundee, according to Torcuil Crichton in Kebabs Over Baghdad? Archived 25 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Sunday Herald, 25 April 2004
  10. Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, full text, Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website
  11. Nigel Don was originally elected; however he was also elected as an MSP for North-East Scotland. A by-election in late 2007 elected Alan Ross to replace him.
  12. John Letford resigned from the Labour group on 24th March 2009 and now sits as an independent councillor Archived 3 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Won the March 2009 By Election. Replaced Joe Morrow (Labour)
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Alex Salmond: 'Dundee is Scotland's Yes city'". The Courier. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  16. "Referendum fever takes hold in Dundee, dubbed Yes City". The Herald. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  17. "Canvass blitz through Dundee, 'Yes capital' of Scotland". 18 September 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  18. "VIDEO: Yes and No campaigners in Dundee city centre stand-off". 13 September 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  19. Fifth Periodical Review of Constituencies Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Boundary Commission for Scotland, in which review-period boundaries for Westminster constituencies are those of now existing Holyrood constituencies

See also

Local political parties:

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