Jackson Carlaw resigns as leader of Scottish Conservatives

30 July 2020, 17:05

Jackson Carlaw has resigned as leader of the Scottish Conservatives
Jackson Carlaw has resigned as leader of the Scottish Conservatives. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Jackson Carlaw announced he has quit as the leader of the Scottish Conservative with immediate effect.

The Conservative MSP, who was elected into the job in February, said he had reached the "painful conclusion that he was not the best person to lead the party going into next year's Holyrood elections".

He stated: "Given the importance I attach to the job, I've therefore decided to stand down with immediate effect.

"It is not an easy call but I have spent a lifetime in politics holding to the maxim that party and country comes first."

Mr Carlaw succeeded Ruth Davidson as the party leader in February after previously acting as her deputy.

He also served as acting leader while Ms Davidson was off on maternity leave following the birth of her son, and after her resignation in August of last year.

The Scottish Conservatives are currently the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament, but are facing a battle to prevent the SNP winning a majority in next year's election.

Mr Carlaw continued that he is confident the party has been left "in good heart and, crucially, with time to elect a new leader so he or she can prepare for the elections next year."

He added: "The Scottish Conservatives will fight those elections as we have always done - as the one party that will unequivocally speak up for all those Scots who do not want to go back to more division, but instead want our country to move on, as part of the United Kingdom, able to rise to the challenges of the future.

"I will fight that cause hard for these next few vital months as a loyal member of my party."

Paying tribute to him, Mr Johnson said: "As an activist, deputy chairman, deputy leader and leader, he has given his all and deserves our thanks for his efforts.

"It is a mark of his commitment to the cause that he chooses to stand aside at this time and I offer my best wishes to him, Wynne and the family."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "I wish Jackson Carlaw all the best.

"We've crossed swords politically on many occasions, but worked constructively on some issues too - he has, eg, been a strong voice for women suffering mesh complications.

"Leadership is a tough business and I'm sure his decision wasn't easy."