Politics in Scotland is never dull, and that is particularly true for Scottish Conservative politics. The future of our party will be debated at the party conference starting today in Manchester and, no less vigorously, at leadership hustings throughout Scotland in the coming weeks.
The central thrust of this four-candidate contest can rightly be characterised as being about real change. I don’t think anyone within or outside our party in Scotland would disagree with the statement that the party must change, and in particular, we must attract more people to vote for us across Scotland as a whole.
We must be clearly identifiable as the choice for those who want to vote for a sensible centre-right party of the sort that exists - and commands support - in virtually every other European country.
In so doing, we must be able to demonstrate that we are relevant and make a difference to the lives of people in Scotland if they vote for us at council, Scottish Parliament, Westminster and European elections. That is why I want to see the leadership election focus on policy, leadership qualities and on the campaigning style our party will have in Scotland to take us forward.
However, I want to make clear my view that any change that takes place must be in the context of the existing Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.
I cannot support the disbanding of our party and setting up a new one. Not least it is a betrayal of our stalwart members and activists and the 420,000 people who voted Conservative at the UK General Election. Those people who, whether or not, they directly elect members of Parliament, want to contribute to the formation of a UK Conservative Government.