Tory leadership contest: Liz Truss seeks to win over Scottish Conservatives
Liz Truss has told MSPs she wants a closer relationship between Conservatives north and south of the Border as she seeks to win support for her bid to become the next prime minister.
The foreign secretary’s campaign insisted the Union is a “core part” of her agenda.
It comes after Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Tory leader, became the most high-profile party figure north of the Border to back Rishi Sunak for the top job.
Jackson Carlaw, another former leader, has also come out in support of the ex-chancellor.
Scottish party sources have criticised Ms Truss for being “too close to Boris” and lacking charisma.
However, polls indicate she is the clear favourite among UK Conservative Party members.
Around 160,000 members will decide who wins the keys to Number 10, with a result announced on September 5.
Ms Truss held a 40-minute Zoom call with Tory MSPs on Friday afternoon, where it is understood she said she wanted a closer relationship between the parties in Westminster and Holyrood.
Cross-border relations have been strained in recent months after Scottish leader Douglas Ross called on Boris Johnson to quit.
In an email to MSPs, Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary and Ms Truss’s campaign manager, said “the strength of the Union is a core part of Liz's agenda”.
Douglas Lumsden, a north-east MSP, has become the second parliamentarian to express a preference for Ms Truss.
He told The Scotsman he was “coming down on the side” of the foreign secretary. He said the Union and North Sea energy were both important issues for him.
Oliver Mundell, the Tory MSP for Dumfriesshire, previously said he was "leaning towards” Ms Truss.
Mr Sunak currently enjoys more support in Holyrood, although many MSPs have yet to declare.
In a statement, Mr Carlaw said: “I am fortunate to have been active as a Scottish Conservative for 45 years.
"I am proud to have held office in our party under Margaret Thatcher, John Major, William Hague, David Cameron and Theresa May. I have learned much from them all.
"I am clear what it is that we need from a leader and I am certain that the right and best candidate to be our next prime minister is Rishi Sunak.”
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