Jackson Carlaw: Nicola Sturgeon and SNP leaders speak out after Scottish Conservatives leader resigns

The First Minister paid tribute to her political opponent after he announced his resignation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has paid tribute to Jackson Carlaw MSP after he announced his resignation as leader of the Scottish Conservatives with immediate effect this afternoon.

In a shock decision this afternoon, the 61-year-old, who had only served in the position since February this year, said: “Over the summer I have had the chance to think hard about my role as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

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"Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom.

“I believe the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the most important voice in Scotland for setting out that positive argument. I am clear that nothing must get in the way of doing so.

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Jackson Carlaw resigns as party leader – full resignation statement

"In the last few weeks, I have reached a simple if painful conclusion - that I am not, in the present circumstances, the person best placed to lead that case over these next vital months in Scottish politics prior to the Holyrood elections.

“Given the importance I attach to the job, I've therefore decided to stand down with immediate effect,” he said.

Mr Carlaw resigned as party leader this afternoon.

"I wish Jackson Carlaw all the best,” Ms Sturgeon wrote on Twitter, “We’ve crossed swords politically on many occasions, but worked constructively on some issues too - he has, eg, been a strong voice for women suffering mesh complications.

"Leadership is a tough business and I’m sure his decision wasn’t easy,” she concluded.

Douglas Ross MP, Boris Johnson’s former Scottish Secretary who resigned in protest at Dominic Cumming’s trip to Durham during lockdown, is widely rumoured to be preparing a bid to succeed Mr Carlaw as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told followers: “So Jackson Carlaw has gone. Was he pushed or did he jump? The speed of the messages calling for Douglas Ross to be the new leader suggests the former.

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"Just as we have seen with Labour, it is London calling the shots. No surprise that Michael Gove has been in Scotland recently.”

Addressing speculation surrounding Mr Ross, Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf wrote on Twitter: “Interesting the Tories in Scotland will choose an MP to lead them - just in case anyone was left in any doubt about their Branch Office status which sees them ruled from Westminster...”

In an earlier tweet, Mr Yousaf wrote: “Jackson Carlaw is a Unionist to the core. It is in his bones, he passionately believes in it.

"If he has come to conclusion that he cannot make the best case for Scotland remaining in the UK then noone can.

"Independence is coming people. Even more important we stay focussed!”

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