Lisa Nandy’s Q&A
Jackson Carlaw launches campaign to be Scottish Tory leader
Jackson Carlaw has launched his campaign to become the next leader of the Scottish Conservatives, a role he has been filling on an interim basis since Ruth Davidson stepped down last August. Carlaw, who enjoys majority support within the party but still faces a contest with shadow social security secretary Michelle Ballantyne, proposed the following:
- Tax cuts for middle-earners. Those earning £27,000 and above now pay more than in the rest of the UK after the SNP changed Scottish tax bands.
- A sweeping policy review. Carlaw has already signalled that he wants to put forward a more populist policy agenda, to dovetail with Boris Johnson’s plans for the UK party, and win over blue-collar voters disillusioned with the SNP and Labour.
- Restoring the 2.000 teachers who he says have been lost from Scotland’s classrooms since the SNP came into power in 2007 and attacking Nicola Sturgeon’s performance in what has been her key priority in government
Carlaw, who has not always employed the most judicious turn of phrase when referring to the first minister, said he would be “taking down” the SNP leader. Sturgeon immediately responded on Twitter “Tough man talk – but didn’t he just ‘take me on’ in the general election and lose half his seats? On the strength of that performance, he’s certainly my favoured candidate for Tory leader!”
Earlier in the day, Douglas Ross, a junior Scotland Office minister, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland that the Tories will block a second independence referendum for up to 50 years, regardless of SNP success in elections. Ross said that the party’s “once in a generation” pledge made in advance of the 2014 referendum should last “30, 40 or 50 years”.
He added that the pledge “was given in the Scottish parliament by Nicola Sturgeon when she was deputy first minister of Scotland, in the final debate that the Scottish parliament held before the referendum campaign. It was written down in the official report.”