Tory vote holding up, says Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson said her party, which currently only has one MP in Scotland, would be 'ruthless' in targeting seats in the run-up to May 7. Picture: TSPL

Ruth Davidson said her party, which currently only has one MP in Scotland, would be 'ruthless' in targeting seats in the run-up to May 7. Picture: TSPL

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RUTH DAVIDSON has dismissed suggestions Tory supporters could back Labour in May’s general election in a bid to halt the surge in support for the SNP, insisting the Conservative vote is “holding up”.

The Scottish Conservative leader said her party, which currently only has one MP in Scotland, would be “ruthless” in targeting seats in the run-up to May 7.

But she refused to say how many seats she hoped the party would win in the forthcoming vote.

With support for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP on the rise in the wake of the independence referendum, Ms Davidson rejected any suggestion Conservative voters could vote tactically and switch to Labour.

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The Conservative leader was asked if Labour was “stealing” Tory votes when she appeared on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

She put forward the “really radical solution” that people should “vote for the government you want, vote for the party you want”.

When asked if her party could be squeezed in the general election, she insisted: “No, actually I think we’re the only pro-union party that’s come out of the referendum stronger than we went in.

“We’ve more supporters, more donors, more candidates coming forward. We see that our vote is holding up across the country and we’re looking to make gains.

“I think that you’ll find people within the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats would love to be able to say the same.”

Ms Davidson said the Tories had support “all over the country”, adding that while that was a “great strength” it could hinder the party in winning seats under the first-past-the-post system used in Westminster elections.

She said: “Our great strength in the Conservative Party is that we have support spread all over the country but it’s also a weakness when it comes to the first-past-the-post system.

“We got between 400,000 and 500,000 votes last time, the same as the Liberal Democrats, the same in fact as the SNP.

“Whereas we got one seat, the Liberals got 11 and the SNP with even more votes than the Liberals got six. So, we do have to target our votes.

“I’m being pretty ruthless about where that’s going to happen. I’m not going to tell the nation where we’re targeting, I’m not going to put a target on the backs of candidates in these seats, but we have to show people in Scotland that the Scottish Conservatives can start winning again, and that’s precisely what we’re focusing on at this election.

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