Conservative Diary

« WIlliam Hague explains the Government's policy towards Afghanistan | Main | Senior Tory backbenchers seek clarification over voting rights in 1922 Committee election »

Lord Forsyth gives a stark assessment of the state of the Scottish Conservative Party

FORSYTH MICHAEL Former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth of Drumlean has today given a stark assessment of the state of the Scottish Conservative Party in the wake of a general election campaign which saw the party fail to gain any of its targets seats.

Speaking to the BBC, he said:

"It's no good deciding, 'oh we'll have a great campaign for three weeks for a general election'. You've got to do this day-in-day-out and the Conservatives have got to be seen to be involved in the day-to-day issues in Scotland, and I'm sorry to say I think for a long time the Conservatives have been a bit marginal."

"There is no-one in charge, we need to have someone who is in charge of the Conservative party in Scotland. Preferably elected by the membership. The membership and the constituencies have been allowed to atrophy.

"The branches have disappeared, there's no real link between the voluntary side of the party and the MSPs and I think probably and I'm as guilty of that and everybody knows that I've been very sceptical about devolution. But I think probably we have to accept the reality of the Scottish Parliament and perhaps use that more effectively as a platform to put across our ideas."

Scotland Office minister David Mundell - and the sole Scottish Conservative MP - said that he welcomed a debate about party structures and the Conservatives' approach to politics in Scoltand, but rejected Lord Forsyth's criticism:

"I think we have to accept one in six people in Scotland did vote Conservative - yes we only got one in 59 MPs - but that doesn't make us a marginal force. In the Scottish Parliament we've been quite an effective force at influencing policy."

He added:

"One thing which I'm delighted to hear is that Michael Forsyth is now saying that we should embrace the Scottish Parliament. I hope that all strands of Conservative opinion in Scotland will now take heed of that and see that as a very important focus of taking the party's policy platform forward in Scotland."

> Earlier this month, Tim Montgomerie recommended the creation of a functionally independent Scottish Conservative Party on the German CDU/CSU model.

Jonathan Isaby


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.