Galloway is a rural constituency in Scotland represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The seat is currently held by the Conservative MP and current Prime Minister Robert Noble-Gordon.
The Galloway constituency was created in 1918 from the county seats of Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire, and the burgh seat of Dumfries Burghs (namely the towns of Kirkcudbright and New Galloway). It is situated in the South Western corner of Scotland and was historically a semi-independent lordship during the Middle Ages - in more recent times Galloway's relative isolation and beautiful landscape has attracted a growing tourist trade. There is only one medium side town - Stranraer - while all other settlements are generally small towns and villages, devoid of any heavy industrial presence. The constituency's economy is dominated by the agricultural and tourist industries, as befitting a largely rural area.
While the seat in 1918 was originally held by the Liberals, the rapid post war decline of that Party granted the seat to the Conservatives or Scottish Unionists intermittantly in the 1920s and constantly from the landslide election of 1931 onwards. With the exception of 1945, when the seat was won by the sitting MP John Mackie as an Independent Unionist, Galloway was a Conservative held seat from 1931 to October 1974, usually by a very safe margin. The current MP Robert Noble-Gordon was first elected in a by-election in 1959 upon the death of Mr Mackie.
The long Conservative dominance of the seat was shaken in 1974, when first the majority was drastically cut in the February election, and secondly lost to the Scottish Nationalists in October in a surprise defeat. The SNP candidate and MP from 1974 - 79 was George Thompson. In the 1979 general election Galloway was retaken for the Conservatives by Mr Noble-Gordon with a majority of just under 3,000.
The Third Boundary Commission Report has recommended a significant alteration of the constituency boundaries in this part of Scotland, due to the relative underpopulation of the Galloway seat. 10,000 voters are being moved from the neighbouring Dumfries seat to Galloway in order to form a new Galloway and Upper Nithsdale constituency. This will bring the two seats to relative parity with both having electorates of around 55,000, which is just below the Scottish average.
The partisan effects of these boundary changes are not yet entirely clear, however, the new Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat is expected to have a notionally larger Conservative majority on the 1979 results than the old Galloway seat - over 5000 as compared to just under 3000. This should turn the old Galloway constituency into a relatively secure seat for the Conservatives once again, though the potential remains for an upset. The current MP for Galloway and Prime Minister, Robert Noble-Gordon, is expected to go for the Conservative nomination for the new, enlargened, constituency.
|1979 General Election: Galloway|