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Jackson Carlaw quits as Scottish Conservative leader

Jackson Carlaw.
Jackson Carlaw.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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