Scottish Conservative MP Douglas Ross has confirmed he will stand for leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
The Moray politican made the announcement this morning, following reports last night he was the firm favourite to take on the role, after former leader Jackson Carlaw sensationally quit.
In the event that there is no leadership contest, Mr Ross could be announced as the new Scottish Conservative leader as soon as Wednesday evening.
If successful, he will seek election as an MSP at the next Holyrood elections in May.
Before then, he has asked the former leader of the party, Edinburgh Central MSP, Ruth Davidson, to lead First Minister’s Questions, and she has agreed to step up.
Both Ms Davidson and Mr Carlaw have backed the Conservative MP for the top job.
Mr Ross said: “This is a crucial time in Scottish politics. We are months away from an important election, and need strong, decisive leadership of our party to take on and defeat the SNP in seats right across the country.
“My message to voters across Scotland will be this: if you want to build a better Scotland, if you want to beat the SNP, and if you want to put the divisions of the past few years behind us, the party I plan to lead is one you can unite behind, and one that can win.
“I want us to show clearly to everyone in Scotland, no matter where they live or who they are, that if they want to move on from the divisions of the past and focus on the issues that really matter; a strong economy, good schools, safe streets and a world-leading NHS then the Scottish Conservatives will be their voice.”
“Scotland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and that’s a relationship I want to
maintain and improve. Under my leadership, this will be an absolute priority.”
Ruth Davidson, former leader of the party, has backed Mr Ross for leadership of the party.
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) July 31, 2020
Meanwhile, Jackson Carlaw, who suddenly quit the role on Thursday, also threw his support behind the 37-year-old, after calling for a “younger and fresher voice” to lead the party.
Delighted that @Douglas4Moray is running to succeed me as Leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
I’ve known Douglas all his political life & he is exactly the candidate with the energy to lead that I had in mind.
Our party should unite behind him and back him all the way.
— Jackson Carlaw MSP (@Jackson_Carlaw) July 31, 2020