Opposition say new Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross will be ‘puppet for Downing Street’

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson alongside new Scottish Conservative leader and MP

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson alongside new Scottish Conservative leader and MP Douglas Ross in Edinburgh. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Nominations have closed in the leadership contest for the Scottish Conservatives, with Douglas Ross MP elected unopposed.

The Moray MP is set to take over from MSP Jackson Carlaw, whose resignation last week led to Ross declaring his candidacy the following day.

Carlaw said he believed he was not 'the person best placed' for the leadership, after reports that Downing Street were in a 'panic' over the future of the union.

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Ross tweeted: 'Becoming leader of the Scottish Conservatives today is the honour and privilege of a lifetime.

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'Now our focus must turn to earning the trust of people looking for a positive and credible alternative for Scotland, and who want a fresh start for our country. I hope you'll join us.'

SNP depute leader Keith Brown MSP said that Ross was a 'puppet for Downing Street'.

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He said: 'Douglas Ross is Boris Johnson's man in Scotland. Westminster has launched a total takeover of the Scottish Tories and installed a Brexit-backing MP to act as a puppet for Downing Street.

'As his Westminster voting record proves, Mr Ross couldn't be more out of touch with Scotland. His offensive comments on gypsy-travellers were appalling and he has rubber-stamped every damaging decision on an extreme Brexit, a power grab on the Scottish Parliament and deep austerity cuts to public services – despite the harm to our communities.

'With the threat of Brexit growing, senior Tory MSPs and advisers jumping ship, and Baroness Davidson preparing to join the House of Lords, it is clear the Tories are the same old party with nothing to offer except selling Scotland out.

'Whatever else we've learned in this whole grubby coup, and whatever their bluster, senior Tories are now effectively conceding publicly what they have been saying privately for some time – they know there is going to be an independence referendum. Otherwise why bother changing leaders?'

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: 'Just months ago, the Scottish Tories were maintaining the pretence that they were something different from the extremist no-deal Brexiteers of the Boris Johnson camp.

'Today the instalment of Douglas Ross as their part-time, absentee leader without even asking their members confirms that there isn't a hint of difference between them.'

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