AN SNP MSP has called the leadership of the Scottish Conservatives a ‘tough gig’ as Moray MP Douglas Ross took charge of the party in Scotland today.
The Moray MP was confirmed as leader at noon today (5 August) after no-one else joined the bid to head the party north of the border.
He said: “Becoming leader of the Scottish Conservatives today is the honour and privilege of a lifetime.
“Now our focus must turn to earning the trust of the people looking for a positive and credible alternative for Scotland, and who want a fresh start for our country.”
Mr Ross announced he would stand for the leadership after the resignation of Jackson Carlaw on 30 July.
Mr Ross was formerly Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, however he resigned from this post in June amid the debate surrounding Dominic Cumming’s lockdown trips.
He is the fifth person to lead the party since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.
It is understood he received the required 100 nominations by noon today, and although an MP, he will stand for election as an MSP in the Holyrood elections in 2021.
Responding to the announcement, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “I congratulate Douglas Ross on becoming leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland following the short-lived tenure of his predecessor.
“He will find that his latest job of lifting the unpopular Tories out of the doldrums and being Boris Johnson’s henchman in Scotland and Moray is going to be a tough gig.
“The Scottish Conservatives always side with the UK Government irrespective of the impact of their right wing and heartless policies on local families, the vulnerable, and communities.
“This is why the Tories lost more than half of their Scottish seats at the last election and why Mr Ross’s own majority was decimated. You can change the captain, but it’s the ship that’s the problem.
“There is nothing in Mr Ross’s track record that suggests he is going to make the Tory brand any less toxic in Scotland. If anything his voting record in Westminster will come back to haunt him time and time again because it speaks volumes about his priorities.
“Scotland is on the move and wants to chart a different path to escape the grip of the UK Government so Mr Ross’s message that we need to keep the status quo and trust Boris Johnson is not going to save the Tories.”
Mr Ross (37) has been an MP in Moray since 2017 when he ousted long-term SNP MP Angus Robertson. He also beat the SNP’s candidate Laura Mitchell in the 2019 general election. Shortly after this win he was appointed as Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, a position he held for only a few months before he quit in June.
Ross stood as the Conservative candidate for Moray at the 2010 and 2015 general elections, coming second to Angus Robertson.
Prior to his win at Westminster, he was an MSP from 2016, and a Moray Council councillor from 2007.