Independent Tory parties for different nations would be ‘hollow and cynical’ says Scottish leader
Independent Tory parties in the different nations of the UK are not the answer as the Conservatives take a poll drubbing in the wake of lobbying and Christmas party scandals, a former Scottish leader has said.
Ruth Davidson was responding to suggestions that the Tory party in Scotland break away from the party in Wales and England in order to distance themselves from a Prime Minister who is unpopular north of Hadrian’s Wall.
Similar discussions have taken place in Wales in the past. In 2011 Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne said he considered re-branding the Welsh Tories as ‘Ymlaen’ – Welsh for ‘forward’ – in a bid to distance it from the Tories at Westminster.
The idea put forward by David Melding, who stood down as a Senedd Member in May, was eventually rejected.
Writing in the Telegraph today, Ruth Davidson said that the argument advocated by some in the Scottish Conservative party today was that “the time for a new party had come owing to the chaotic nature of the No 10 operation and poor polls, which suggest heavy losses in May’s Scottish council elections unless we annul our relationship with the English and Welsh Conservatives immediately”.
However, the now Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links argued against the idea, saying that as well as being impractical four months before council elections it was also “a short route to electoral suicide”.
“I still believe that divorcing the UK Party, rebranding, but keeping largely the same people and prospectus, while pledging to support Conservatives in forming the UK Government would be seen by voters as both hollow and cynical,” Ruth Davidson said.
“A bunch of moaning minnies either afraid or ashamed to call themselves Conservatives in case it costs them seats, but propping up a UK Tory government anyway, just with reduced influence over it.”
Ruth Davidson added that members of the Conservatives in Scotland needed to realise that a mid-term poll bounce for the opposition party was the norm, not the expection.
“Yes, Labour have, in Keir Starmer, someone far more electable to the swing voters who decide results than Jeremy Corbyn,” she said.
“And yes, the self-inflicted wounds of the past few weeks are serious. But they are not, as yet, fatal.
“Using these mid-term jitters to disavow nearly 200 years of party history or — worse — splitting off one part of the party forever, is not a route to guaranteed success.”
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