Ruth Davidson launches Tory leadership campaign

Ruth Davidson
Image caption Ruth Davidson is the third candidate to declare in the leadership race

Newly-elected Tory MSP Ruth Davidson has launched her campaign to lead the party, with a pledge to fight further new powers for Scotland.

She said the Scotland Bill to increase Holyrood's financial responsibility was "a line in the sand" and strongly opposed calls for full fiscal autonomy.

Ms Davidson dismissed leadership rival Murdo Fraser's bid to disband the Scots Tories in favour of a new party.

The Glasgow MSP said she would fight to keep Scotland in the union.

The contest was sparked after Annabel Goldie announced she was quitting as leader, in the wake of the SNP's landslide election win.

Ms Davidson is the third Tory MSP to enter the race to lead the Scottish Conservatives, after Mr Fraser - currently the party's deputy leader - and Jackson Carlaw both declared.

Launching her campaign, she said: "Under my leadership, the Conservatives can begin winning for Scotland."

Responding to Mr Fraser's argument that a new centre-right party would attract more voters, Ms Davidson said: "The debate so far has been dominated by the distraction over whether we should disband, rebrand, change our name or renegotiate our relationship with colleagues in England and Wales.

"Real change in the Scottish Conservatives won't come from a new name.

"Real change, real progress, will come when we start talking to people about the issues that really matter to them."

Ms Davidson pledged to bring "fresh thinking" to issues such as health, education and justice, while promising to beef up the way the party campaigns and is funded.

She added: "Scottish politics must be a battle of ideas - between the big-government parties of the left and the Conservative way of putting people first - where government can become the servant of the people rather than the left wing view that the people should serve the State; when we can work to create a lower tax, enterprising, compassionate country and when we can reform our public services, - then Scotland can flourish."

The leadership contest has also come in the wake of the Sanderson review of the Scottish Conservatives, which said a radical leadership overhaul as part of a battle plan to improve the party's electoral prospects.

"Because when it comes to that battle of ideas and values I know that our principles of family and enterprise and personal freedom will win."

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