Sturgeon’s there for the taking: Tories Ross and Davidson set out plan to crush SNP

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Mr Ross, MP for Moray in the Scottish Highlands, has thrown his hat into the ring after the shock resignation of predecessor Jackson Carlaw last week. He previously served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, a post from which he resigned in May in protest at the refusal of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings to resign in the wake of his controversial lockdown trip to Durham.

Our aim is to show the SNP wall standing in the way of progress is built on sand

Douglas Ross

In an essay co-authored with Ruth Davidson, who was the leader of the Scottish Tories prior to Mr Carlaw, and who was made a life peer by Boris Johnson last week, Mr Ross accused the SNP of “running out of steam”.

In the joint article, he added: “Just as the SNP have broken through the ‘red wall’, our aim is to show the SNP wall standing in the way of progress is built on sand, and is there for the taking.”

Mr Ross, a qualified football referee who officiated in the 2015 Scottish Cup Final, and Ms Davidson also wrote: “We’ve both been through elections in Scotland where we’ve been told our chances were dead.

“We’re used to being told by armchair experts that you can’t be a Tory and win in Scotland.

“Along with everyone else, we’ve lived through times recently of enormous unpredictability, where everyone got things wrong.

“So while we respect the SNP as political opponents, and we are aware of their strengths, we do not fear taking them on. We know how to win.”

The essay, published by the Scottish Daily Mail, was scathing about the priorities of Scottish nationalists while casting Mr Ross and Ms Davidson as a rivalry-free “joint ticket” to lead the party north of the border.

They said: “There is an essential difference between us and the SNP.

“For the Nationalists, independence is the purpose of their politics – everything else must be subsumed within that one goal.

“For us, Unionism is not an end but a means – to a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”

Vowing to deliver a fairer Scotland, the pair warned thousands of Scottish jobs were on the line as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, making it “desperately difficult” for businesses to plan for the future.

They wrote: “This is where government can step in. As we outlined yesterday, we intend to set out a jobs plan for Scotland within the next month.

“Crucially, we want to make this plan stand alongside – not fight against – the proposals outlined by the UK Government.

“We are not interested in using politics to create difference: we want to see both our governments working in tandem for the benefit of us all.”

Setting out their priorities, Mr Ross and Ms Davidson added: “For starters, we must re-examine the support provided to businesses through existing structures such as Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway.

“Public sector procurement must be redesigned to ensure small and medium-sized companies get a fairer shot at securing contracts.

“We need to refocus efforts to grow exports, not just abroad but within the UK itself.

“However much we may strive to return to it, life after the COVID pandemic will never be the same again and nor will our economy.

“We can’t go back to the way things were because in many areas that won’t be possible.”

They added: “So let’s ensure that, out of the COVID tragedy, something better is built, here in Scotland and across our United Kingdom.

“Let’s resolve that the children whose earliest days have been lived in the shadow of a global pandemic can look forward instead to a future of prosperity security.

“And let’s all pull in same direction to make that better future a reality.”

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