Ruth Davidson has moved to position the Scottish Tories firmly in the political centre-ground – predicting that first minister-in-waiting Nicola Sturgeon would be the most left-wing yet.
Having emerged from what she branded a “long, dark night” for the party in Scotland during the referendum, she said there was an “incredible opportunity” to take advantage of the realignment.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative conference in Birmingham, the Scottish party leader said the “myth” of the toxic Tories had been “blown out of the water”.
Ms Davidson said: “We have the chance for the first time in decades to occupy the centre-ground of Scottish politics. To continue being the voice for Scotland’s silent majority.
“Because, let’s face it, no-one else is going to be.
“The nationalists are too busy being the voice for the ‘referendum deniers’, who just want a rematch.
“They’re going to keep mobilising for another referendum – it’s in their DNA.
“And, with Nicola Sturgeon set to take over, it looks like the SNP and Labour are going to embark on a titanic fight to out-left each other.
“I know Nicola, and I can tell you this – she will be the most left wing First Minister Scotland has ever known. Forget Donald and Henry, Jack and Alex – please, can we forget Alex? – Nicola will take her party – and the country – leftwards.”
She claimed that the SNP and Labour will be trying to outflank each other to demonstrate “a kind of socialist machismo”.