A ROW has erupted over proposals for a cross-border bid to win City of Culture status for five council areas in southern Scotland and northern England.

The local authorities for Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Carlisle City, Cumbria and Northumberland have expressed interest in being named a City of Culture area.

But the plan is facing opposition from SNP representatives on the Dumfries and Galloway council. They have been branded “pathetic” by Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell, who is backing the joint bid.

If confirmed, it would be one of 20 regions in the mix to be awarded the title, which is currently held by Coventry.

A longlist of bids is expected to be submitted later this month.

Rob Davidson, Dumfries and Galloway Council's deputy leader and SNP group chief, warned that the joint bid could overshadow his own region.

"Our concerns with the Borderlands bid are, firstly, that we are not entirely clear how the decision was made to go ahead with such a bid," he said.

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"And, secondly, that we feel there is a great risk that everything Dumfries and Galloway has to offer doesn't get the prominence and exposure to wider audiences that, for example, a south of Scotland bid would have guaranteed."

Mundell was angered by the comments and accused the SNP of being narrow-minded.

"I can only conclude that it is because of this cross-border element and frankly that is pathetic," he said.

The former Scottish secretary pointed to the fact the party had backed bids in other parts of Scotland, adding: “The difference here with this bid is it involves a cross-border approach and ultimately SNP philosophy is against co-operation with our friends and neighbours across the border.”

The UK’s City of Culture will be officially unveiled in May next year.