Ruth Davidson: Life should mean life

The law should be changed to ensure that the most dangerous people can be locked up for the rest of their lives without any chance of release, according to the Scottish Conservative leader.

Ruth Davidson called for the SNP government to take the step following the release of killer Thomas McCulloch on Tuesday after decades behind bars.

A “whole-life tariff”, already in place in England and Wales, would be clear and unambiguous, she said during First Minister’s Questions yesterday.

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“It’s simple: life should mean life,” she said. “Will the First Minister give an assurance today that he will finally take action to give the public the protection they deserve? Will he ensure that in the most extreme cases, when the most violent criminals are taken off the streets, they will never return?”

McCulloch, 65, murdered three people after escaping from the State Hospital in Carstairs, Lanarkshire with fellow patient Robert Mone in 1976.

Alex Salmond said laws passed by a Conservative government means that ministers cannot interfere with parole board decisions. “I am perfectly, and the justice secretary is perfectly willing and able to consider suggestions that come forward in a constructive sense,” he said.