Davidson’s gaffes leave Tories embarrassed as they launch local election campaign

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By a Newsnet reporter

The leader of the Scottish Conservative Ruth Davidson, criticised by many in her party due to her inexperience, has made another embarrassing gaffe which has overshadowed the launch of the party’s campaign for the local elections next month.

In an interview with Radio Scotland, Ms Davidson claimed that the Conservatives are in administration in Stirling, where in fact there are just 4 Conservative councillors out of a total of 22.  The council is run by a minority SNP administration.

Speaking yesterday on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, Ms Davidson said:

“We think that there are areas in which local councils can make a difference, for example in Stirling we are part of the administration.”

Annabelle Ewing, SNP MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife has said that Ms Davidson’s latest gaffe, claiming the Conservatives are in administration in Stirling Council, has left Tories across Scotland embarrassed.

Ms Ewing, SNP MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said:

“What an embarrassment for Ruth Davidson and the Tories in Scotland, yet again. They don’t even know what councils they are involved in running.

“As for claiming control of Stirling, the Tories are clearly delusional and have not come to terms with just how low their ratings in Scotland have fallen.

“Not content with trying to confuse the people of Scotland with their ever-changing position on the referendum, we’ve now got the Tories making clearly incorrect statements on national radio about local authorities.

“In stark contrast the people of Scotland are clear about where the Tories stand in their opinion – they don’t want a sinking ship governing Scotland.”

Later on Tuesday, Ms Davidson made another campaign gaffe, when she admitted that the best the Conservatives could hope for would be to achieve third place in the local elections in terms of the total number of councillors returned for the party.  The SNP have said that Ms Davidson’s admission illustrates that the Conservatives have “no ambition for themselves, and no ambition for Scotland”.  

The Scottish Conservatives proposals for Scottish local authorities include the introduction of controversial so-called “free schools” outwith local authority control.  The party also backs cuts to Council Tax, and elected police commissioners and directly elected lord provosts in Scotland’s large cities.  All these policies are already being implemented by the Conservatives in England.   

Kenneth Gibson MSP said that the Tory hopes in the May elections mirrored their lack of ambition for Scotland.

The MSP for Cunninghame North said:

“Ruth Davidson and the Tories in Scotland clearly don’t understand the hopes and aspirations of the people of Scotland – they have failed to put forward any positive case for voting Tory.

“Aiming to stagger past the Lib Dems and come third shows the Tories have no ambition for themselves and no ambition for Scotland.

“Going for bronze ahead of the discredited Lib Dems is a pitiful plan. The people who live in this country know that the Tories have failed to learn their lessons from previous electoral defeats and will rightly once again reject the Tories at the polling booth on May 3.”