Jackson Carlaw succeeds Ruth Davidson as Scottish Tory leader

Posted On: 
14th February 2020

Jackson Carlaw has been confirmed as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives. 

Mr Carlaw was an MSP for West Scotland between 2007 and 2016, before winning his current Eastwood seat in the 2016 election

The bookies' favourite beat rival Michelle Ballantyne after receiving the backing of 76% of party members.

Mr Carlaw had previously served as deputy party leader under Ruth Davidson, before becoming acting leader following her resignation in August last year.

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Writing on Twitter, Ms Davidson congratulated her successor on winning “the best job in Scottish politics”.

She said: “His time as both deputy leader and interim leader mean he is by far the most experienced person ever to have undertaken this role and I know he will have the whole party behind him as he leads us into next year’s Holyrood elections.

“Jackson is his own man and has firm ideas on how the party needs to change in order to build on recent successes.”

She also praised Ms Ballantyne for running a “thoroughly impressive campaign”.

The campaign to replace Ms Davidson has been a heated one, with Ms Ballantyne suggesting Mr Carlaw’s lack of “vision and ambition” led to the party’s 2019 general election losses. 

Meanwhile Mr Carlaw accused his opponent of lacking ideas, claiming she had never submitted a policy proposal while in Holyrood.

He assumes his role in Holyrood at a challenging time for the party, with polls indicating that the SNP is likely to win its fourth term in government.

The Conservatives also struggled in Scotland during the 2019 General Election, losing seven of their 13 MPs.

SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown congratulated Mr Carlaw on winning the race.

But, he added: “Of course, with Jackson having run the party through their General Election collapse, this is a case of ‘meet the new boss – same as the old boss’.

“The big test for Mr Carlaw will be whether he will stand up for Scotland’s interests against Boris Johnson. 

“He used to say that Boris Johnson wasn’t fit to be Prime Minister. He was right – but then he campaigned for precisely that. 

“Just as they went from Remainers to hard Brexiteers, it’s obvious that the Scottish Tories will continue to parrot whatever line they’re handed down from Westminster.”