Why the Scottish Conservatives will hope this Christmas party hangover doesn't linger

For the Conservatives, it was the nightmare before Christmas.

Weeks of negative headlines arrived just as the Omicron variant was spreading throughout the UK.

As the prospect of further restrictions loomed, the news was full of claims of rule-breaking festive parties in the corridors of power last year.

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Scottish Conservatives face general election wipeout in wake of Christmas party ...
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross

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The perception that it's one rule for them and another for the rest of us is political poison.

It’s not just damaging for the Tories, it’s damaging for the country.

The North Shropshire by-election, in which the Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan overturned a Tory majority of almost 23,000, sent shockwaves through the party.

Politics is full of sound and fury, empty rows and overblown drama.

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It’s dangerous to admit this as a political journalist, but most of it has little cut-through.

But here was real-world evidence that voters were angry and fed up.

New polling by Opinium, published in the Sunday Mail, provides further proof the Tories should be worried, including in Scotland.

It suggests the Scottish Conservatives would lose all six of their Westminster seats in a general election, while the SNP would secure 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs.

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Just 18 per cent of respondents said they trusted Boris Johnson, with 77 per cent believing he had lied over Covid rule breaking.

Polling expert Sir John Curtice said the Tories’ 17 per cent share of the vote was the lowest in any Scottish poll since September 2015.

“It just underlines how disastrous Partygate has been,” he said.

Of course, the next general election is not due to be held until 2024.

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By that time, hopefully, Covid will not be the all-consuming crisis it is today, and anger may have faded.

But as everyone knows, trust once lost is hard to regain.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will also have an eye on the council elections on May 5.

In today’s The Scotsman, Sir John predicts the Tories will lose ground and the SNP could see their best-ever local results.

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It all makes for a troubling situation for Mr Ross, who has made clear his anger over the party claims down south.

He will likely resent the Scottish Tories suffering for a scandal they had little to do with.

As a new year dawns, Mr Ross will hope this particular festive hangover doesn’t linger.

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