Ross: Tories could end SNP obsession with independence at next election

The Scottish Tory leader said his party remains the title challenger to the SNP across many Scottish seats.

The Scottish Conservatives have a “real opportunity to close the doors on the SNP’s obsession with independence”, Douglas Ross has said.

The Scottish Tory leader told STV’s Scotland Tonight programme that his party remains the title challenger to the SNP across many Scottish seats.

He said a win for the Conservatives would show Scots wanted to focus on issues such as the NHS rather than independence.

The party leader is both an MSP and an MP but plans to stand down from the UK Parliament when the next election is called.

It comes after polls suggest the Scottish Tories could slip into third place behind the SNP and Labour at the next UK ballot, expected sometime this year.

Surveys have given Keir Starmer’s Labour Party a 20-point lead over Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives.

Douglas Ross on Scotland Tonight
Douglas Ross was interviewed by Rona Dougall on Scotland Tonight.

Asked about the Prime Minister’s popularity ratings, Ross said UK ballots are “not presidential elections”.

He said: “We are looking at an election here in Scotland that is going to be quite different from other parts of the United Kingdom.

“Here in Scotland, we have a real opportunity to close the door on the SNP’s obsession with independence.

“We know in seats right across the country that either the Conservatives hold those seats and the SNP are the title challengers or the SNP have those seats at the moment and the Conservatives are the title challengers.

“We can send a real message to the SNP by defeating them in these seats and returning Scottish Conservative MPs that we don’t want to focus on independence and we do want to focus on Scotland’s NHS, Scotland’s education system.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “The Scottish people have not voted for a Tory government since 1955, and Douglas Ross’ attempts to overlook the utter incompetence of his own party – which imposed austerity, Brexit and Liz Truss’ mini-budget on Scotland – show exactly why.

“The SNP, in contrast, is making the right decisions for Scotland, ensuring the most vulnerable members of society get the support they need, public services like the NHS see real terms increases in funding and the majority of people pay less tax.

“The SNP will always stand up for Scotland, and at the next election the Scottish people will have the chance to choose between a brighter future in an independent Scotland or more damage and dysfunction under the Tories at Westminster.”

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