Tory infighting puts Davidson under pressure


  By Bob Duncan

Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson must “be seen to be ahead of the curve” and “loony” Michael Forsyth should be “muzzled”, claims the Conservative group leader of Fife council.

In a scathing attack on Ms Davidson’s leadership, the Tories have been told they must go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate their position on constitutional politics, the Tory council group leader in Fife has said.

The damning critique on their positioning in the anti-independence No campaign sees Cllr Dave Dempsey attack party leader Ruth Davidson and former Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth, saying:

“We need to decide who is the leader of our party. Then she needs to be seen to be ahead of the curve and ahead of the other leader.  In particular, there’s an appetite for localism in Scotland that is incompatible with lines in the sand.

“I find myself cringing whenever a particular former Scottish Secretary is wheeled out because I know he’s about to undermine what we’re trying to achieve. Could we please have a Dangerous Politicians Act to introduce muzzling. Leaving the loony fringe to one side, there is an easy solution – just lose the referendum, sit back and wait.”

Davidson had a shaky start to her leadership as she became the first MSP to be fined by the UK Electoral Commission after failing to declare on time almost £15,000 of donations to her leadership campaign.

She has been sidelined and contradicted by prime Minister David Cameron on several occasions, leading Tory MSPs to complain that the party in Scotland was “not even on his radar” and to accuse Mr Cameron of hanging the Scots Tory leader “out to dry”.

She has also been accused of political inconsistency with Holyrood magazine even writing that “Ruth Davidson’s line in the sand has moved so many times she could play hopscotch with the trace of her arguments”.

And to top it off, a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the SNP found that just 5% of Scots thought that Ruth Davidson was best at standing up for Scotland.

The damning assessment from within her own party will come as yet another blow to under-fire Ruth Davidson, as Kirkcaldy SNP MSP David Torrance explained, saying:

“It is an achievement in itself that Ruth Davidson has managed to survive for a full year as leader of the Tories in Scotland – but clearly the diminishing Tory grassroots are not pleased at all.

“Councillor Dempsey’s admission that the Tories are out of sync with the needs of the people of Scotland and the bitter personal attacks on a former Scottish secretary will come as a huge embarrassment to Davidson.

“It leaves her in a position where she will either have to side with Cllr Dave Dempsey or discipline him. And she will have to do it herself – not on London’s demand.

“Ruth Davidson will no doubt be relieved to have clung onto her job for a full year, despite the repeated gaffes she has inflicted upon her party, but the pressure is on and she should raise her game now if she wishes to remain in charge.”