Jackson Carlaw bids to be Scottish Conservative leader

Jackson Carlaw Mr Carlaw said he believes he has "a significant degree of support"

Conservative leadership hopeful Jackson Carlaw has officially launched his campaign with a demand for an early referendum on independence.

He is among two candidates currently in the running to replace Annabel Goldie as Scottish Conservative leader.

She said she would step down in the autumn after the party's poor performance at the May election.

The party's current deputy leader, Murdo Fraser, put his name forward for the post last month.

Mr Carlaw, who is a West of Scotland list MSP, opened his campaign with an event in Glasgow, where he outlined his plans to take the party forward.

'Strong Scotland'

He said he wanted an independence referendum before any further discussion on transferring more responsibilities to the Scottish Parliament beyond the Scotland Act.

He added: "I want to secure a strong Scotland in a great Britain and so the future of the union will be the heart and soul of my campaign and at the very centre of my appeal to party members."

Mr Carlaw said that over 30 years of involvement in all areas of the party gave him the experience to take on the leadership.

Mr Fraser will formally launch his campaign on Monday.

He is expected to call for the SNP to hold a single-question referendum on independence and outline his support for financial devolution to the Scottish Parliament.

Ruth Davidson, the newly elected list MSP for Glasgow, is also expected to join the leadership contest.

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