The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw, has stepped down from his post.
The Eastwood MSP said he is not “the person best placed” to head up the party ahead of next year’s Scottish elections.
After eight years as deputy, Mr Carlaw became the Scottish Conservatives’ interim leader following Ruth Davidson’s resignation last year.
He then was elected to take on the job full-time following a leadership contest in February.
In a statement this afternoon, Mr Carlaw said he was quitting to allow someone “better than me” to take over.
He said: “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.
“Given the importance I attach to the job, I’ve therefore decided to stand down with immediate effect.”
I've known @Jackson_Carlaw since 2011. By then he'd already been working and fighting for the @ScotTories for about 30 years… through some really dark days. He remains a friend, a mentor and one of the most dedicated servants our party has ever had. Thank you Jackson. pic.twitter.com/Y4afaije0F
— Andrew Bowie MP (@AndrewBowie_MP) July 30, 2020
Mr Carlaw 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-19 emergency, to make the case for the Scottish Conservatives and the Union better than me. That is all that matters.”
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.”
I wish Jackson Carlaw no ill. I will not “put the boot in” when a guy is down. No doubt it’ll be a personal blow to him, but I think the reality is this: Tories are like Canute trying to hold back the Indy tide. Folk have seen UK’s not acting in 🏴’s interests & have had enough.
— Paul Wheelhouse MSP🏴 (@PaulWheelhouse) July 30, 2020
Jackson Carlaw is a Unionist to the core. It is in his bones, he passionately believes in it.
If he has come to conclusion that he cannot make the best case for Scotland remaining in the UK then noone can.
Independence is coming people. Even more important we stay focussed!
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) July 30, 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described Mr Carlaw as a “tremendous servant” to his party for more than 40 yeard.
He added: “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.”