Douglas Ross Nailed On For Next Scottish Conservative Leader
Douglas Ross is the frontrunner to be named the next Scottish Conservative leader but faces a monumental task to prove a success north of the border.
The MP for Moray was the first to express his desire to lead the Scottish Tories after Jackson Carlaw quit last week.
He has already garnered the backing of former leader Ruth Davidson and is to provide an ‘economy first’ pitch to party members.
Bookmakers offering UK politics betting odds currently have Ross as the 2/15 favourite to land the post.
And while Ross as yet has no challengers for his pitch to lead the party, the 37-year-old faces plenty of tough times ahead.
Battles With SNP
Were Ross to be named Scottish Tory leader then his first step will be to mount a charge against the dominant Scottish National Party.
This would happen at the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, where Ross says he will stand, should he become party leader.
The SNP currently boast a majority at Holyrood and have stacks of MPs down in Westminster championing the cause for independence.
With Labour currently floundering for support in Scotland, the Conservatives have emerged as the SNP’s de facto main opposition.
Yet the SNP have seen their odds on winning a Scottish Parliament majority next year slim from 1/10 to 1/16 with William Hill over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ross has a huge mountain to climb. The nationalist party has already attacked him, with deputy leader Keith Brown saying “Douglas Ross is nothing more than Boris Johnson’s man in Scotland – and clearly no-one can trust a word he says.”
IndyRef 2 Odds
Ross, formerly the Scotland Office minister before quitting in May, insists he will not countenance a second Scottish independence referendum.
IndyRef 2 remains one of the central political issues for Scottish voters, while Ross may have trouble championing Brexit to a nation that voted 62 to 38 per cent against leaving the EU in 2016.
The odds on a second independence referendum taking place in 2021 have already come in to 4/1 with Boylesports.
This is largely down to predictions that the SNP will sweep the Holyrood vote and then push for independence again.
Issues with Boris
Meanwhile back in London, were Ross to be elected leader of the Scottish Tories then he is set for a collision course with Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s chief spin doctor Dominic Cummings.
Ross left his post as Scotland Office minister in protest to Cummings breaking lockdown rules to drive to County Durham during the height of the coronavirus crisis.
He is unlikely to have many allies from within No. 10, which may help fuel his desire to leave Westminster and secure a position in the Scottish Parliament next year.
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