Tory conference: Douglas Ross takes aim at colleagues’ ‘disinterest’ in the Union


DOUGLAS Ross has said the case for independence is being made “more effectively in London than it ever could be in Edinburgh” during his first party conference speech as Scottish Tory leader.

The Moray MP took aim at “defeatism and disinterest” towards the Union in Westminster, warning that without Scotland “Global Britain” will be seen as “Little England”.

Ross said the Scottish Tories are “not going to give in, not now, not ever” to calls for independence.

“An SNP majority is not inevitable. Independence is not evitable,” he told the conference.

In his speech Ross hit out at Tory inaction over rising support for independence.

He told viewers of the online event: “Despite bold promises, the Union too often becomes an afterthought.

“In successive governments, it is given warm words and lip service but sadly too often there is little action.

“Across England, there are those that see Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as poor investments, recipients rather than contributors to the welfare of our country.”

He expressed anger that after campaigning against independence for years he is “told that it is inevitable by people that have barely ever been to Scotland”.

READ MORE: Another poll finds majority of Scots back Scottish independence

Ross told party members: “I take no pleasure in saying this, but the case for separation is now being made more effectively in London than it ever could in Edinburgh.

“This defeatism and disinterest only serves nationalism and divides our country.”

Ross has positioned himself as a Scottish Tory willing to stand up to the UK Government. He made headlines in May when he resigned as a Scotland Office minister over the Dominic Cummings row.

His speech comes just days after he refused to say Boris Johnson is an “asset” to the party.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross refuses to say Boris Johnson is an ‘asset’ to Scottish Tories

However in the Commons he consistently falls into line with the Westminster party’s agenda, voting for the law-breaking Internal Market Bill and supporting Brexit legislation despite Scotland’s majority support for the EU.

His speech comes amid increasing support for Scottish independence, with recent polls putting the figure between 53% and 55%.

The most recent poll, carried out by Survation, found 53% of people intend to vote for the SNP in the Holyrood constituency vote, with the party on track to gain a majority in the election.

Meanwhile support for the Scottish Tories in the constituency vote was down three percentage points at 20%.

More to follow.

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