Salmond backs Perth's city status call

Image caption,
Perth is an "ecclesiastical city" because it has a cathedral, but is legally a town

Scottish political leaders have joined the call for Perth to be made Scotland's seventh city.

First Minister Alex Salmond and other leading Scottish politicians have signed a special charter, asking for Perth's city status to be restored.

It was removed in 1975 as part of a local government reorganisation.

The town is bidding to be made a city again in a UK-wide competition set up to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year.

Civic leaders have cited Perth's achievements in business, the arts and sport, which they say have made the town a thriving, dynamic place in which to live and work.

They hope the special charter will help convince those awarding the prize.

Perth and Kinross Provost John Hulbert, who visited the Scottish Parliament for the charter signing, said: "Perth's campaign to have city status restored already has wide support from residents, businesses, the local media and celebrities.

"Today's signing of the charter can only help to strengthen our claim for restoration of our rightful title."

Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Tavish Scott and Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray are also backing the bid.

First Minister Alex Salmond said he "wholeheartedly" supported the city status campaign.

He added: "As one of the most ancient and historic places in Scotland, Perth deserves our full support in its bid to be recognised as a city, and have its former status restored."

Perth, which celebrated its 800th anniversary last year, is an "ecclesiastical city" because it has a cathedral, but is legally considered a town.

Royal prerogative

Perth and Kinross Council launched a claim for formal city status in 2005 after a search of its archives uncovered the "Golden Charter" of 1600 to back its claim.

In December the bid was debated by MPs in the House of Commons when Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said it was disappointing that the UK government was only offering city status to one candidate from across the UK.

Scotland currently has six cities. The newest are Stirling and Inverness, which joined Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

City status is a reserved matter and is granted by the Queen under royal prerogative on advice from ministers.

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