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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 16:46 GMT
Apology demanded for 'dump' town
Lockerbie town centre - Undiscovered Scotland

An apology has been sought after an MSP branded a south west Scotland town a "dump" and described a main street in an English city as a "booze canyon".

The SNP's Christopher Harvie made his comments about Lockerbie and Carlisle during a debate on increasing tourism.

He described the Dumfries and Galloway town as a "dump" full of derelict shops and youths smoking and drinking.

South of Scotland Tory MSP Derek Brownlee said that was an "appalling insult" and demanded an apology.

Mr Harvie was speaking to the Scottish Parliament's economy, energy and tourism committee.

Ugliest clothes

He criticised Carlisle city centre - describing one of its main streets, Botchergate, as a "booze canyon".

He also claimed Scottish youths wore "what must be the ugliest clothes worn by anyone on the entire continent".

Mr Harvie described his recent trip through the town, which was devastated by a plane crash terror attack in which 270 people died in 1988.

"On getting to Lockerbie, I discovered that the place is a dump - it was Tescotown," he said.

"It should really have a certain attraction of a rather sombre kind as a place where something terrible happened.

Christopher Harvie MSP
In Carlisle itself, the street of Botchergate is a booze canyon
Christopher Harvie MSP

"There are, after all, places on the Western Front and that sort of thing that have such an attraction for families who have lost people there."

He said the town was "not in the least attractive".

He also reserved harsh criticism for the Cumbrian city just across the border.

"In Carlisle itself, the street of Botchergate is a booze canyon," the Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP said.

"Going out for a meal on a Saturday evening, even if there were any good places - that would apply to the Scottish side of the border as well - would involve taking one's life in one's hands."

'Vitriolic attack'

Mr Brownlee said MSPs should be trying to help towns, not run them down.

The South of Scotland MSP added: "These comments are an appalling insult to Lockerbie.

"It is astonishing that, during a debate on how to increase tourism, Christopher Harvie decided instead to launch a vitriolic attack on the town based on one passing visit."

He said to compare Lockerbie to the Western Front was "astonishing".

"Christopher Harvie and the SNP should apologise," he added.

SEE ALSO
Town outdoor drink bans approved
10 Jan 08 |  South of Scotland
Road closure cuts city disorder
21 Jan 08 |  Cumbria

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