Scottish Tory Leadership Contender Calls for Devolution of Powers From Holyrood

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Following the resignation of Scottish Conservative & Unionist leader Jackson Carlaw on Friday, Moray MP Douglass Ross aims to champion the unionist message ahead of the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections.

Scottish Tory leadership hopeful Douglas Ross said on Saturday that he will seek to “power up Scotland” by shifting control of some Holyrood business in a more local direction.

In a media briefing held on Zoom, Mr Ross, said that there was “far too much centralisation” of power in Holyrood by a small number of politicians.

The recently announced contender for the position of leader of the Scottish Conservatives said he wished to take power away from ministers but did not give specific details on what functions would be moved.

In order to “give a taste” of what his leadership would be about, Mr Ross said that he will be announcing further details of his ideas for his direction of the party over the next few days.

He has indicated prior to the briefing on Saturday that he wishes to see power not just limited to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Mr Ross also said that he wants to see the Conservative form a government in Scotland and that the unionist party is currently in a better position to win than the currently ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) were prior to their landslide victory in 2007.

“I would think it shameful of any leader in Scotland to not aspire to win… If you don’t have that ambition why should people vote for you?”, he said.

He also lauded the capability of the United Kingdom as aiding Scotland through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, emphasising the importance of the union against the independence narrative of the SNP.

“The list of interventions by the UK government has been significant in every part of Scotland”, he claimed.

“The risks that come with that level of borrowing is shared across millions of people across the United Kingdom rather than by a far smaller number in Scotland”.

He cited how the government’s new VAT hospitality reduction scheme, introduced in order to tackle the economic downturn,

helps venues in Shetland in the same as those in Cornwall”.

“That shows that the UK government can provide assistance that is matched everywhere… and demands to simply ‘Scotify’ things by the Scottish government take away from the benefits of these schemes”, he said. “People, businesses and industries are grateful for the support they have received from the UK government through Barnett consequentials or directly investing in businesses”.

The Moray MP announced that he would be seeking the leadership position following the shock resignation of Jackson Carlaw, and has received the 100-nomination threshold required under party rules.

Carlaw resigned claiming that he did not think he was the person with the capability to effectively argue the unionist case amid a wave of rising nationalist sentiment in Scotland.

Should there be no other contenders, Ross could ascend to the party’s top position as early as the coming Wednesday.

Currently a Westminster MP, Ross is looking to return to Holyrood as an MSP at the next Scottish parliament elections and has asked former leader Ruth Davidson to head First Minister’s Questions sessions.

Ross served as an MSP for the Highlands and Islands from 2016 – 2017 and upon gaining his Westminster seat, stepped down from the position.

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