Scottish Tories ‘brought into line with UK Government’

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said the party's no-deal Brexit u-turn was 'the right thing'.

The Scottish secretary has praised interim Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw for bringing the party “into line with the UK Government” on a no-deal Brexit.

Alister Jack said Carlaw had done “the right thing” by reversing former leader Ruth Davidson’s opposition to a no-deal outcome.

The Scottish Tory chief told Conservative conference in Manchester earlier this week he would back leaving the EU without a deal over a further Brexit delay.

Jack confirmed he had been approached about the u-turn by Carlaw but insisted he had not put any pressure on him to make the change.

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It follows reports of anger within Scottish Conservative ranks over the move, with senior MSPs allegedly not consulted on it beforehand.

Speaking in Manchester to STV’s Westminster correspondent Kathryn Samson, the Scottish secretary said: “(Carlaw) certainly consulted other MSPs, he consulted me and I know that Ruth was aware of his position.”

Pressed on if he had put any pressure on Carlaw, Jack answered: “Absolutely none whatsoever.

“But he’s brought the Scottish Conservatives into line with the UK Government.

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“He is his own man, he has stated his position very clearly and I think he’s done the right thing.”

Addressing Tory conference on Sunday, Carlaw told party colleagues he still hopes Boris Johnson will strike a new Brexit deal with Brussels.

He said: “My preference is for a negotiated way out, it always has been.

“But I’m not someone who has argued that the roof will fall in on the world in an alternative scenario if we have properly prepared for it.”

Carlaw added: “Far more damaging is the endless drift, three years after we voted, three years of businesses not knowing whether they’re going to end up.

“Another six month extension does not guarantee that anything will be any different at the end of it. At some point you have to say, we have to move on.”

Responding to the policy change on Twitter, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “hard to overstate how big a blunder” it was.


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