Ruth Davidson still used on Scottish Conservative election leaflets

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Jackson Carlow has defended using Ruth Davidson on Scottish Conservative election leaflets in spite of the fact she stood down as leader two months ago.

The interim leader said that he was "delighted" his party could use former leaders, including Ms Davidson, in campaign material.

The party has been without a permanent leader north of the Border since Ms Davidson resigned in August. Picture: JPIMedia

The party has been without a permanent leader north of the Border since Ms Davidson resigned in August. Picture: JPIMedia

The party has been without a permanent leader north of the Border since Ms Davidson resigned in August, admitting she was “hopelessly conflicted” over Brexit.

Asked about a leaflet in which he did not feature being handed out at an event in Perth, Mr Carlaw told The Times: "I think the Labour Party were putting election leaflets out from Gordon Brown in the last general election and he hasn't been the prime minister since 2010. We are absolutely delighted that we've got former leaders that we're able to use in this campaign.

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"I doubt the SNP will be using Alex Salmond, I doubt the Labour Party will be using Kezia Dugdale. Our former leaders are still very much active in the party and an electoral asset, and we'll be using both Annabel Goldie and Ruth Davidson."

The Scottish Tories are facing calls to name a new leader before the general election amid claims a hardline Brexiteer will be “hand-picked” by Boris Johnson.

Interim leader Jackson Carlaw. Picture: PA

Interim leader Jackson Carlaw. Picture: PA

But there is little prospect of a replacement for Ruth Davidson being in place before the December vote, with Mr Carlaw expected to continue in the role before a leadership vote is staged next year.

But the SNP points to “personalised letters” the party has sent to voters ostensibly from Ms Davidson seeking support.

SNP Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard said: “Boris Johnson was too hard-line and right-wing even for Ruth Davidson to stomach.

“But now she’s the figurehead of their campaign pleading for people to vote for him in a general election. It’s duplicitous, cynical and voters will see right through it.

“She has left a vacancy at the helm for two months now, and still there’s no plans in place to appoint a successor.

“Scottish voters deserve to know in advance of an election, or can otherwise assume the next leader of the Scottish Tories will be a hard-line Brexiteer hand-picked by Boris Johnson.”

The Tories had been considering a contest before the end of a year when a spring election looked likely, but the immediacy of the vote next month means Mr Carlaw is widely expected to head the campaign.

Miles Briggs, the Tory health spokesman, Liam Kerr, the justice spokesman, and Murdo Fraser, the finance spokesman, are considering running.