Ruth Davidson: Tories should opt for minority rule

SCOTTISH Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson today said the party should go it alone and form a minority government if it fails to win the election outright.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson MSP during the party's official launch of their General Election 2015 campaign in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow

She said David Cameron could learn from the SNP administration which ruled Scotland as a minority for four years from 2007 as the Tories launched their campaign in Edinburgh.

Polls suggest that neither Labour nor the Tories will secure a majority after the election on May 7. The SNP, though, has pledged to “lock David Cameron out of government” and called for an informal deal with Labour which could hand Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street.

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But Ms Davidson said the country is no longer in the same state of “national crisis” which brought about the need for the formal partnership with the Liberal Democrats in 2010.

“I think I would prefer a minority government and we’ve seen in Scotland how that can work,” the Scottish leader said today.

“I think the Coalition came together at a time of national crisis. I think it was the right thing for the country to do, particularly when the international community was so febrile at the time. It really settled the markets.”

Ms Davidson said the Lib Dem Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander “worked really well” with Chancellor George Osborne during the Coalition.

But she added: “I just don’t think we’re at that time of national crisis and I think we have a road map for where we want to go.

“I hope we get a Conservative majority. I agree that the polls don’t make that a dead cert stick on right now, but I think we’ve seen in Scotland how minority government can work and I would like in that event for us to give it a try.”

The Tory leader was launched by the party’s Scottish candidates at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh this morning to launch the campaign.

It came as leaked Government papers over the weekend suggested up to £13 billion of fresh welfare cuts could be coming in the next Parliament.

Ms Davidson said: “It’s quite clear in some cases where that money is going to come from.

“We will be spending less on out of work benefits when we have less people out of work.”

The Scottish leader said many of the documents were “scenario planning” from civil servants and the party could not go into details until “decisions are made.”

But she told activists that 174,000 jobs have been created in Scotland under the Coalition, while 56,700 Scots have come of benefits. In addition, 37,600 new businesses have been created in Scotland.

“We’re going to take our record of achievement to doorsteps across Scotland,” Ms Davidson said.

“A growing economy, more jobs, the deficit being cut, work always paying more than benefits, living standards on the way up, poverty on the way down.

“We’re going to take that record of achievement - and our plans for the future - to the Scottish people.”