THE Tories will provide cash and resources for Scottish target seats in the next UK general election, the party’s chairman has announced.
At the moment the Conservatives have just one MP in Scotland, but Grant Shapps said target seats will get trained campaign managers in the run-up to the 2015 vote.
The Tories will provide both money and resources to try to increase their number of Scottish MPs, he said.
“I know we’ve got some pretty important battles ahead. It’s not just the Union vote we’ve got on the horizon. In less than two years’ time this country goes to the polls for the general election,” Mr Shapps told the Scottish Conservatives annual conference in Stirling.
“I want to announce that we will be targeting seats right here in Scotland, seats that will get trained campaign managers, the money and the resources needed to fight because we know we can win votes here in Scotland. I know we can do great things.”
It is “not always rosy”, he said, telling activists that some of the big changes the Tory-led coalition Government is making are not popular.
“I know more than anyone it’s hard out there on the doorstep,” he said.
“In Westminster we’re making big changes, big changes to ensure that work always pays, rebalancing our economy and slashing a third off the deficit. Some of these things aren’t popular with everyone all of the time.”
People should “not underestimate the Scottish Tories”, he insisted, highlighting some gains in council by-elections.
Being the largest party in Dumfries and Galloway is a “magnificent achievement” for the Tories and last month the party doubled its vote in the Leaderdale and Melrose ward of Scottish Borders Council.
“We’ve got great candidates in the battles to come - Conservatives winning votes in Scotland,” Mr Shapps said.
As well as the fight to get more Tories elected, he also spoke about the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.
“The choice that voters make next year will affect every single thing they know. The passport they hold, the army protecting them and the money in their pocket.
“Make the wrong decision and all those partnerships, built up over the years, are gone for good.
“If Alex Salmond has his way, it will be complete and utter mayhem for this country. The case for independence simply does not stack up. We are better off together. We are more prosperous together, we are more influential together and we’re going to stay together.”
His message to the First Minister was: “Stop messing with the nation’s future. The case for Scotland and the Union is proving we’re bigger, better and stronger together. That is how we are going to stay.”