Scotland

Scots Tory leader Annabel Goldie announces resignation

Annabel Goldie
Annabel Goldie will step down as leader of the Scottish Tories in the autumn

The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Annabel Goldie, has said she is to stand down in the autumn.

Miss Goldie said she was "disappointed" by her party's performance in last week's Scottish Parliament vote.

She is the third opposition leader at Holyrood to announce her resignation after the SNP secured an overall majority in the Holyrood election.

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray will quit after the summer and Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott has also resigned.

The election, which saw Alex Salmond's SNP secure the parliament's first ever overall majority, marked the Tories worst electoral performance at Holyrood.

In 2007 the party secured 17 seats, although under new boundaries they notionally had 20 seats.

Following Thursday's vote, the party's number of seats dropped to 15.

Speaking in Edinburgh, Miss Goldie said: "The Scottish election result was seismic.

"Nobody, not even Alex Salmond, thought that the SNP would win an overall majority at Holyrood.

"I am of course disappointed that the Conservatives are returning to the parliament with two fewer MSPs than last time, but I am heartened by the observations of many independent commentators that our result was, by comparison to the other opposition parties, credible."

Miss Goldie said that she believed her party had run the "right campaign".

'New realities'

She added: "We focussed on trying to maximise our votes on the regional list.

"Unlike others, we had a narrative of common sense, telling it like it is, and a record of delivering for Scotland. But being the least worst was, in the end, not good enough."

Miss Goldie, who stood as the Tory candidate in the Renfrewshire North and West seat, was elected to Holyrood from the top of the Conservative list for the West of Scotland.

She confirmed that she would not be a candidate when her party holds a leadership election in the autumn but said she would continue as an MSP for the duration of the parliament.

Ms Goldie said: "For the opposition parties, we will all have to adjust to the new realities.

"It will be a test of our mettle and resolve to be an effective opposition. We must remember that although the SNP has a majority of seats, it did not win a majority of votes, and has a minority of support for independence.

"For me, and for my party, we will play our part."

She added: "I believe that the time has come for the torch to pass and I can confirm that I will not be a candidate.

"There are four years until the next UK general election, and five years until the next Holyrood contest.

"I want my successor to have the maximum time for him or her to shape the party and its policies and to lead the opposition at Holyrood."

First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to Annabel Goldie, saying he held her in the "very highest personal regard".

He added: "Annabel acquitted herself very well in the recent election, and although her party lost ground I believe they would have lost more had she not been leader.

"I will miss Annabel's distinctive style at First Minister's Questions in particular. I am sure that Annabel still has a significant contribution to make as a distinguished parliamentarian, and she carries my very best wishes for the future."

Scottish Labour's outgoing leader, Iain Gray, also paid tribute to Ms Goldie.

He said: "I disagree vigorously with Annabel Goldie about many things but she has been an energetic leader of her party, and on a personal level I wish her well for the future."

His sentiments were echoed by former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott, who said: "Annabel Goldie has epitomised a different point of view and different way of expressing that point of view during her time as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

"I wish her well for the future."

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