Scottish Tories will be the alternative to SNP ‘failure’, insists new leader

The Scottish Conservatives will be a clear alternative to Nicola Sturgeon and her “morally and politically bankrupt” Scottish Government, new leader Jackson Carlaw has vowed.

He said he is determined the Tories will oust the SNP from power in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, insisting the nationalists are “failing” Scotland after 13 years in office.

After being elected as the new Tory leader in Scotland, Mr Carlaw said the SNP are “there to be replaced and I am determined Scottish Conservatives will do that”.

He won the backing of 4,917 Tory party members in Scotland in the leadership contest – comfortably ahead of social security spokeswoman Michelle Ballantyne’s 1,581 votes.

Almost 60% of the party’s 10,911 “eligible electors” cast their vote in the contest.

Mr Jackson insisted he has a clear mandate from the party to “make the changes required to lead us into the election next year”.

He added: “This is not about asking the people of Scotland to re-elect us as a strong opposition, this is about offering the people of Scotland a clear alternative to the SNP and then fighting all the way to polling day next year to provide them with an alternative government.”

Michelle Ballantyne and Jackson Carlaw
Michelle Ballantyne congratulates Jackson Carlaw as he was elected Scottish Conservative leader (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Jackson will start making appointments to his top team immediately – and is also scheduled to speak to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK Conservative Party leader, on Friday afternoon.

He said he will push ahead with a review of party policies – which could see the Tories U-turn on their opposition to free higher education in Scotland as well as considering their position on the two-child cap brought in by the Conservatives at Westminster on some welfare payments.

After the policy review, Mr Jackson said he will then ask “the people of Scotland to elect a Scottish Conservative government as the largest party at Holyrood in 2021.

Jackson Carlaw
Mr Carlaw said he is now ready to take on and beat the SNP (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He added: “In those circumstances I would hope to be the first minister delivering on that alternative programme.

“The result today demonstrates I have the clear confidence of the party. I have a bigger share of the vote than Boris Johnson achieved in his leadership election, I have a bigger share of the vote than Ruth Davidson achieved, a bigger share of the vote than David Cameron achieved in any of the previous Conservative Party leadership elections.

“So I have a clear mandate from the party in Scotland now to make the changes required to lead us into the election next year.”

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