Scots Tories to debate devolution

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The Independent Online
The Scottish Conservatives yesterday announced that the agenda for their party conference on 27 June. The former Secretary of State for Scotland and MP for Stirling, Michael Forsyth, will address the meeting, which has been cut down to take place on a single day.

Only two items will be debated - the devolution referendum and whether to break free from the English Conservative Party.

Annabel Goldie, the chairman of the Scottish party, told The Independent last week that nothing was ruled out, including independence from Tory HQ in London and adopting a new name, possibly the Scottish Unionist Party.

Conveniently for leaders wanting to avoid too much blood-letting, the agenda contains no resolutions for the debate on party structure. It is billed simply as a "forum" for members' views.

However, there is a trenchant resolution for the debate on devolution. Put down by former MP Phil Gallie, who lost his Ayr seat at the election, it commits the party to campaign against home rule in the referendum next September. But Tories from the Reform Group wing in Scotland believe it is time to appear positive about an Edinburgh Parliament and use it as a political springboard.