The election of a new leader to replace Annabel Goldie at the helm of our party is a golden opportunity to demonstrate to Scotland that we are ready to win again.
After 12 years of devolution, the Scottish Conservative Party and our nation are at a crossroads. We can either stand by and help to accelerate Alex Salmond’s drive to independence or we can stand up and put forward the positive case for Scotland’s place within the United Kingdom.
That is why I reject calls for our Party in Scotland to declare independence. That is playing right into Alex Salmond's hands. How on earth can we credibly campaign for Scotland in Britain if we rip ourselves out of our own union? We have to stop obsessing about ourselves and start talking to Scotland about the issues which matter to them. We have to demonstrate real change by electing a new leader who embodies that real change.
There has been much media speculation about who would stand to replace Annabel and my name was raised on more than one occasion. I have chosen not to stand so that I can concentrate on work in my constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire. I held this new seat in May, more than doubling the majority I secured in its predecessor of Roxburgh and Berwickshire. I have seen and know what it takes to win again in Scotland. I understand acutely that we need a leader who can replicate what I’ve done in my constituency across Scotland as a whole.