Sanderson to call for Scottish Tories to have more powers at Holyrood

THE Scottish Conservatives will gain a more "distinct Scottish identity", with their team at the Scottish Parliament given far greater say over decision-making and policy, an internal report on the future of the party is expected to conclude this week.

The six-month-long inquiry is set to reject calls for the Scots Tories to get a new name and be split entirely from the UK party.

But Scotland on Sunday understands that it will recommend the party applies a far greater focus to Holyrood, giving the leader of the Scottish parliamentary group a more powerful role.

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The details of the package will be unveiled on Friday, a day after the review led by Conservative peer Lord Sanderson, is given to the party's executive.

One issue is whether the review recommends that the leader of the MSP group is given more say over who holds the post of Scottish party chairman. Currently, that decision rests with the party leader in London, David Cameron.

The Sanderson review was commissioned by the Scottish Tories' current chairman Andrew Fulton in June in the aftermath of the party's poor election result north of the Border.

Despite reclaiming seats across England and Wales, the party failed to make any gains in Scotland, and continues to have just a solitary Member of Parliament north of the Border, David Mundell.

The review has studied the structure and operation of the party. Along with Sanderson, former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth (formerly Michael Forsyth, a Scottish Secretary under Margaret Thatcher) and Murray Tosh, an Ayshire-based former West of Scotland MSP, have also taken part.

Their findings are understood to be unanimous.

One source close to the discussions said: "One of the things that has been obvious is that the arrival of the Scottish Parliament has changed everything.

"It has taken all the focus of (Scottish] politics, and what the report does is acknowledge that and acknowledge the need to have a structure that reflects that."