Newcomer Ruth Davidson wins Scottish Tory leadership race


Scottish Conservatives have elected newcomer Ruth Davidson as their new leader.

The 32-year-old only entered the Scottish Parliament in May as a regional MSP for Glasgow.

Ms Davidson replaces Annabel Goldie, who announced her intention to step down days after losing two seats in the Scottish election.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed his party's new leader in Scotland.

He said: "I am delighted to congratulate Ruth on winning this leadership election and look forward to working with her to strengthen the Union and build a better future for Scotland."

Ms Davidson is the first overall leader of the party in Scotland, rather than just the Holyrood group. She won the election in three rounds, leading at each stage.

Following the declaration at a hotel in Edinburgh today, she said: "With the radical, generational change that I represent, this is a unique opportunity for us to rebuild the party and to once again become a powerful, meaningful and relevant force in Scottish politics and in Scottish life.

"Our loyal and hard-working members in the associations and constituencies are the lifeblood of our party. But there has been a failure to fully involve them both in policy development and party management and strategy. That will now change."

She continued: "The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party is very much alive and kicking. That has been very clear in the exhilarating debate we have had during this campaign.

"It is now up to all of us to build on that momentum and drive the party forward to a new and exciting age of success."

Turning to the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence, she said: "We in the Scottish Conservatives have a duty as well as an opportunity to be the party that stands up for Scotland as a vital component of the Union.

"We must not allow the SNP to tear up that right. Scotland is not being served if politicians behave like rabbits caught in the headlights of Salmond's separatist steamroller. We must have the courage and conviction to stop him in his tracks by always presenting and promoting the positive case for the Union.

"Of course, a union that does not adapt and evolve will inevitably become stale, so it is essential that we adjust, refresh and revitalise the partnership. But strong, enduring marriages do not end in divorce, they continue to provide safety, security and mutual benefit and respect. That will always be worth fighting for.

"This is a time of generational change for the Scottish Conservatives, a party for all, regardless of age and of background. I want everyone to feel that they have a place, a role and a voice that can and should be heard. I want to engage the whole party from the grassroots up and to extend that conversation with the electorate at large.

"The hard work starts here. Today is the first day of a new and bright future of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party."

Ms Davidson, a former BBC journalist, was inspired to enter frontline politics by David Cameron's call for fresh faces in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal.

She fought the Glasgow North East by-election in 2009 - a seat the party was never likely to win - and worked for Miss Goldie before gaining a seat in Holyrood as the only Tory MSP in the Glasgow region.

Ms Davidson, who is openly gay, is a member of the Church of Scotland and counts kickboxing among her hobbies.

Ms Davidson was challenged for the position by Murdo Fraser, Jackson Carlaw and Margaret Mitchell.

Mr Fraser ran on a pledge to scrap the "tainted" Conservative brand and start a new centre-right party - a move that split senior figures and prompted Ms Davidson to announced she would run against him.

Following the result, Mr Fraser said: "Clearly I'm disappointed that I was not able to persuade more of our members that my vision for the future is the correct one.

"But I congratulate Ruth Davidson on her victory, and she will have my full support, as she tries to take the party forward.

"I think the bold and radical proposal that I had - to create a new centre-right party for Scotland, to replace the Conservatives - was a leap too far for the majority of our members.

"A sizeable minority, 45%, voted for my proposal but it was not enough."

He secured 2,096 first preference votes against Ms Davidson's 2,278.

David Mundell, the only Tory MP in Scotland, supported Ms Davidson's bid and said: "Ruth embodies the radical, generational change that the party needs to rebuild and reclaim its place at the heart of Scottish politics and Scottish life.

"I look forward to working closely with her and I am certain she will be a first-class leader for the whole party."

Ms Mitchell, a late entry to the race, was knocked out with 472 votes in the first round.

Mr Carlaw, who was taken to hospital with appendicitis during the campaign, was considered a strong challenger for the top job but finished third with 830 first-choice votes.

There were 5,676 votes cast in a turnout of 63.4%.


Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all