The Scottish Conservatives have appointed Douglas Ross as their new leader. The Moray MP was the only candidate to have put their name forward to replace Jackson Carlaw, who suddenly resigned at the end of July. Former leader Ruth Davidson has agreed to stand in for Mr Ross at First Minister’s Questions until next year’s Scottish Parliament election.
Mr Ross then hopes to win a seat at Holyrood – but has said he has no plans to quit the House of Commons until at least the next general election.
Mr Ross described becoming leader as “the honour of a lifetime” and said his party must now earn the trust of people who are “looking for a positive and credible alternative for Scotland”.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Baroness Gisela Stuart, suggested Mr Ross’ appointment could work as a powerful weapon in the fight against Scottish independence.
The former Labour MP and Vote Leave chair said: “The work that is happening right now across Government is particularly significant.
“Trying to maintain the integrity of the UK .
“They are in the process of really increasing the work that goes on into that.
“One interesting thing that has happened recently is the decision of the Scottish Conservative Party to quite dramatically change their leader.
“And hand it over to a new generation of politicians.”
She added: “I hope that what will happen now is Ministers going to Scotland and Wales.
“We really shouldn’t forget about Wales. And make the case of the United Kingdom as a union.”
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Her claims were echoed by journalist Stephen Daisley in a recent column for The Spectator.
He wrote: “Whitehall insiders tell me COVID-19 has rudely awakened Downing Street to just how far devolution has taken Scotland down the path to full secession and how thoroughly it has leached away Westminster’s powers.
“That it has taken so long to understand that devolution serves rather than hinders nationalism is damnable but what counts is what Boris Johnson does now.”
Mr Daisley also conceded Mr Ross might be “the right man” to lead the Scottish Tories.
And that he could even be the man to make them a viable party of Government north of the border.
However, he added: “I’ll be honest, I don’t have a clear enough reading of him yet to tell you what I think.
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“What I will say is that none of this matters as long as devolution remains unreformed.”
Despite several surveys suggesting support for Scottish independence this summer, when asked whether the coronavirus pandemic has made Scottish independence more likely, Baroness Stuart refused.
She said: “No. I think it has shown Nicola Sturgeon has been successful in nation building.
“But she has not been successful in statecraft, the machinery of that.
“Now it is time for the UK has to show that there are things that benefit Scotland, and they are a result of being in the United Kingdom
“On corona, we are still right in the middle of this.
“Hold on folks, this is far from over.”