Redwood on election night
Redwood: "Fightback Starts in Scotland"
Tory leadership contender John Redwood has pledged to lead the Conservative fightback with a campaign against Labour's devolution plans for Scotland.
He said that under his leadership the party would lead the "no" campaign in the referendum expected to be held in the autumn.
Speaking at a news conference in Dunkeld, Mr Redwood claimed it was the
Tories' constitutional duty to oppose the referendum on a Scottish Parliament
and said this would lead the Tories' fight-back in Scotland.
Mr Redwood attacked Labour's devolution proposals as "muddled, expensive and
wrong" and added that Conservatives "must pick themselves up and campaign strenuously for the Union of the United Kingdom".
He said the last thing Scotland needed was more politicians and bureaucrats.
"Glasgow does not want to be governed from Edinburgh. The
Highlands and Islands certainly do not want to be governed from Edinburgh. The
Shetland Islands would rather be governed from London."
Mr Redwood said the Tories believed in devolving power to individuals, families and free institutions. He claimed the planned Scottish Parliament would appease neither the nationalists nor Scottish citizens who wanted to remain part of the UK. "The case for the Union is more popular in Scotland than the Conservatives were at the last election. We must put together a strong Scottish team to oppose these measures."
Earlier, he told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, "One of my first tasks if elected as the leader of the national party will be to put together a really first-class team of Scottish voices and faces who can go on TV and radio and put the case for the union."
Mr Redwood said that the Tories had an obligation to lead the "no" campaign, adding, "I can't see who else can do it. I think it's our constitutional duty to do it and it should be our pleasure to do it. We are the party of the Union. We do not believe that Scotland deserves more politicians, more bureaucrats, more wasted expenditure and more taxation."
On party organisation and policy, Mr Redwood said that if elected he would embark on a major consultation exercise. He went on, "I don't have a perfect prescription for party constitutional reform. But what I do know is that if a leader plunges into constitutional reforms that are not going to command majority or unanimous support, then he will be in deep trouble."
Mr Redwood's views contrast with former Foreign Secretary
Malcolm Rifkind, who wrote on Monday that home rule for Scotland would probably not lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom.