Ruth Davidson says Scottish Tories breaking away from main party would be 'absurd'

Ruth Davidson has warned the Scottish Tories that breaking away from main party would be “absurd”.

The former Scottish Conservative leader insisted independent Tory parties in the different nations of the UK was not the answer after a former Scottish Conservative chairman had suggested a breakaway.

Pete Duncan had complained that the “continuing chaos in Downing Street” is “holding back” the party’s prospects in Scotland following a series of scandals.

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She told The Telegraph: “Leaving aside the practicalities — and it takes a great deal longer than four months to establish and register a political party, recruit candidates for every council ward in the country, create a unified prospectus and launch it on the public consciousness — it is a bad idea and one that is, in itself, a short route to electoral suicide.

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson warned against the Scottish Tories breaking away

"I still believe that divorcing the UK Party, rebranding, but keeping largely the same people and prospectus, while pledging to support Conservatives in forming the UK Government would be seen by voters as both hollow and cynical. A bunch of moaning minnies either afraid or ashamed to call themselves Conservatives in case it costs them seats, but propping up a UK Tory government anyway, just with reduced influence over it.

“Better, surely, to make the case for Conservative values — freedom, choice, responsibility, aspiration, hard work, family, country — with renewed vigour and genuinely Scottish application; reject the ‘othering’ we were subject to by opponents by demonstrating that these values were the same values of voters right across the country."

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Baroness Davidson suggested a change of Prime Minister would make a difference, but urged her colleagues to stick it out even if Boris Johnson stayed.

She said: “It is well known that I have clashed with the Prime Minister over the years, backed almost every other candidate in the leadership race, and stepped down as Scottish leader just a few weeks after Mr Johnson took office (for a combination of policy and personal reasons).

"So it is perhaps not surprising that I would believe that a change of leader could restore some of the moral authority lost over such debacles as the Downing Street parties or addressing the CBI unprepared, and riffing on Peppa Pig instead of the challenges of rebuilding after Covid.

“But even with the current incumbent remaining in office, I urge colleagues to hold their nerve.

"Conservatives in Scotland and beyond must, yes, demand better — much better — of the Prime Minister and his top team. But must also remember that those Conservative values, clearly articulated, resonate with voters everywhere, including Scotland and the red wall. And that is something we can all unite behind.”

It comes after Mr Duncan revealed “anxious Scots Tory councillors” were now bracing themselves to lose seats at the council elections, being the “fall guys for Downing Street incompetence”.

Scotland’s only Tory MP between 2001 and 2005, Mr Duncan spoke out after former Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins insisted that none of the opposition parties in Scotland are “going to get near power until they break free and divorce themselves from London”.

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