A former Scottish Conservative chairman has complained that the “continuing chaos in Downing Street” is “holding back” the party’s prospects in Scotland and could lose them seats in this year’s council elections.
Peter Duncan said that “anxious Scots Tory councillors” were now “contemplating a campaign where they feel like the fall guys for Downing Street incompetence”.
Adding that the Tories had been hit by a “devastating sequence of disastrous missteps” over the autumn, he argued that the formation of a separate Scottish party was now “much more likely”.
Duncan, who was Scotland’s only Tory MP between 2001 and 2005, spoke out after former Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins insisted that none of the opposition parties in Scotland are “going to get near power until they break free and divorce themselves from London”.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Duncan said: “After a devastating sequence of disastrous missteps this autumn, from Owen Paterson to Downing Street parties, from northern rail U-turns to Covid strategy division, the PM heads into 2022 under pressure like never before.
“And, once more, it’s hurting the Conservative cause in Scotland.”
Current poll ratings mean “significant losses look likely”, he added.
Under these circumstances he said the idea of “independence for the Scottish Conservative Party” was attracting new supporters amongst members.
He said: “Yes, there may be risks to a split with the UK party – but are they any greater than the risks inherent than in the status quo?”
Duncan continued: “One thing is certain, continuing chaos in Downing Street is holding back Scottish Tory prospects and will put at risk good, hard-working Scottish Conservative councillors and MSPs unless something changes.
“I have long supported a more grown-up arrangement whereby the party in Scotland owns its future more clearly, but this autumn’s events at Westminster have made that outcome much more likely.”