‘The SNP has leadership pygmies to choose from post-Sturgeon’

Oliver Dowden took aim at the First Minister during the Conservative Party's conference in Manchester on Sunday.

‘The SNP has leadership pygmies to choose from post-Sturgeon’ PA Ready

Nicola Sturgeon is a “giant among pygmies” in the SNP when it comes to leadership credentials, according to a senior Conservative MP.

Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party’s co-chairman, took aim at the First Minister as he outlined his hopes for winning seats in Scotland once Sturgeon is no longer SNP leader.

Politics: Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden (Stefan Rousseau/PA)PA Ready

Speaking at the party’s conference in Manchester on Sunday, Dowden said: “I do think there’s a real opportunity for us in Scotland for a couple of reasons.

“First of all, Nicola Sturgeon is not going to be there forever and after Nicola Sturgeon the rest of them – I’m not saying in any way Nicola Sturgeon is a wonderful person, but compared to her comrades as it were, she’s a giant among pygmies, and so I think as she goes they will be very weakened.

“And secondly, I think we have a real opportunity to focus on the actual delivery of the nationalists in Scotland, which has been completely lamentable – whether it’s education, whether it’s health, they are falling massively behind the rest of England.

“Nicola Sturgeon constantly tries to distract from this by talking endlessly about independence.

“We need to bring that focus back on their delivery in Scotland, which is lamentable.”

At Westminster, the SNP currently has 45 MPs compared to six Tory MPs, four Liberal Democrats, two Alba Party, one Labour and one independent from the Scottish seats.

In the Scottish Parliament, 64 of the total 129 MSPs belong to the SNP. The Tories have 31 MSPs.