thescottishsun– RUTH Davidson claimed new Scots Tory leader Douglas Ross “knows what it takes to beat the nationalists”.
The former party leader – who will leave Holyrood next year for a move to the House of Lords – hailed him as someone who “sees the bigger picture”.
Introducing Mr Ross at Scottish Conservative conference, Ms Davidson recalled the party’s “stunning result” in 2016’s Holyrood election when it defied the polls to strip the SNP of its majority and win a record 31 seats.
And she referenced the new leader’s willingness to be critical of the UK Tory government on issues like the union, Brexit and Covid.
Ms Davidson said: “We can only take on the nationalists if we build that broad coalition again.
“That means not simply talking to our party stalwarts and saying what they want to hear, but challenging old orthodoxies – sometimes even challenging elected colleagues – in order to deliver what we all want – an end to threats of referenda once and for all.
She called next May’s Scottish Parliament elections – in which she won’t be standing – an opportunity to “wrestle our country out of the endless constitutional gripes and get back to the things that matter”.
SNP deputy leader Keith Brown hit back: “Douglas Ross and his deluded band continue to profess – against all available evidence – that Westminster has the best interests of Scotland at heart while the people of this country recognised a long time ago that Tory Prime Ministers like Boris Johnson just can’t be trusted.
“Douglas Ross knows the union has failed Scotland and that’s why independence is becoming the settled will of the Scottish people.
“While voters across Scotland continue to place their trust in the SNP to deliver in their interests, the Tories continue to behave like Donald Trump – but they cannot stand in the way of democracy and the right of the Scottish people to choose our own future.”
It comes as Ross branded the Scottish Government a “false friend to devolution” and said it should hand over more cash to councils.
He added that the SNP should no longer be allowed to “raid our council budgets on a whim”.
And top Tory Alister Jack slammed the SNP Government today for being more interested in “starting rows with Westminster” than supporting Scottish jobs.