Annabel Goldie denies campaign problems

'Positive record': Annabel Goldie.
'Positive record': Annabel Goldie.© STV

Allegations of problems within the Scottish Conservative ranks were denied by leader Annabel Goldie as she launched the party’s election campaign in Edinburgh.

Key candidate Malcolm Macaskill dropped out of the election battle last week and Tory councillor David Meikle has withdrawn from the city's regional ballot.

Mr Meikle will now stand as a constituency candidate for Glasgow Southside.

Protesters from Glasgow group Citizens United Against Cuts to Public Services also interrupted the launch of the Tories' election campaign with placards campaigning against budget cuts to public services imposed by the Westminster coalition.

Speaking about the issues in Glasgow, Miss Goldie said: "There has not been a collapse in the Glasgow campaign.

"Issues arose in Glasgow and, quite rightly, the party has dealt with these issues.

"That's territory for politics and that's territory for elections, things happen to parties.

"The Liberal Democrats have lost an MSP, who has decided to become an independent.

"These are the issues which can arise. I'm here and I have been campaigning to highlight the very positive record of Scottish Conservative achievements in the Scottish Parliament over the last four years, and these achievements, I know, are resonating across the length and breadth of Scotland."

Miss Goldie also stressed that the Tories in London were happy with the election campaign north of the border.

Impressive record

She added: "The Tory hierarchy down south is delighted with the campaign we are running, David Cameron personally endorsed it when I met him earlier this year.

"He was very positive. He also feels that we have a very impressive record of delivery in the Scottish Parliament."

Tory officials also claimed a number of achievements from the party in the past four years, including 1000 extra police officers, cuts in business rates and a £60m town centre regeneration fund.

Miss Goldie added: "I want to build on that positive record and, next week, our manifesto will set out how we shall deliver even more for Scotland.

"How we shall support families, create jobs, provide opportunity, keep our communities safe and promote a greener Scotland."

Speaking about the Tory campaign, Glasgow SNP candidate Sid Khan said: "I expected their supporters to see sense and ditch them in May but I certainly didn't expect so many of their candidates to be jumping ship so soon.

"It's clear that they are in disarray from top to bottom.

"People in Glasgow, and indeed the rest of Scotland, have a straight choice in this election between an SNP Government with a proven record of delivery and an untested Labour Party devoid of any direction or vision for the people of Scotland."

Ken Macintosh, Labour candidate for Eastwood, said the Tories have "effectively ceased to function as a political party".

He added: "Even their candidates have no confidence in where the party is going and are dropping like flies.

"This continuing saga shows how out-of-touch they are because as families feel the pain of Tory cuts, the Scottish Tories are convulsed with in-fighting.

"Labour is focusing on what really matters - jobs and getting the economy going again.

"Now the Tories are back, people across Scotland face a real choice: a Labour government focused on what really matters, or the SNP distracted by separation and willing to leave people shouldering the brunt of Tory cuts.

"Every day in every town and city, Labour will stand up to the Tories, doing everything we can to protect Scottish families from the havoc wreaked by a government completely out of touch with families struggling to make ends meet."

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