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Jackson Carlaw resigns as Scottish Conservative leader just months after winning role

The MSP was only elected to the job in February

2 min read

Jackson Carlaw has resigned as leader of the Scottish Conservative party just months after being elected to the role.

The MSP said he was stepping down after coming to the "painful conclusion" that he was not the "best placed" candidate to lead the party.

His resignation comes less that a year before crucial Scottish Parliament elections set to be held in May 2021.

In a statement, Mr Carlaw said: "Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom.

"I believe the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the most important voice in Scotland for setting out that positive argument. I am clear that nothing must get in the way of doing so.

"In the last few weeks, I have reached a simple if painful conclusion - that I am not, in the present circumstances, the person best placed to lead that case over these next vital months in Scottish politics prior to the Holyrood elections."

The 61-year-old Eastwood MSP was only elected to the role in February, following a short stint as interim leader after Ruth Davidson stepped down.

"Given the importance I attach to the job, I’ve therefore decided to stand down with immediate effect," he added.

"It is not an easy call but I have spent a lifetime in politics holding to the maxim that party and country comes first. I believe I am doing my duty by holding to that view now.

"I simply believe that a new leader will be able, as we recover from the Covid emergency, to make the case for the Scottish Conservatives and the Union better than me. That is all that matters."

His decision to step down comes amid growing support for Scottish independence in the polls, with latest figures also showing the SNP should comfortably retain their majority in Holyrood.

Responding to the announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Mr Carlaw had been a "tremendous servant" to the party for more than four decades.

"As an activist, deputy chairman, deputy leader and leader, he has given his all and deserves our thanks for his efforts," he added.

"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."

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