Scotland politics

Ruth Davidson predicts 'best ever result' in Holyrood vote

Ruth Davidson

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has told activists her party is on track for its "best ever result" in next year's Holyrood elections.

At a fringe event at the Conservative conference in Manchester, she outlined plans for a new "carer's allowance".

She also attacked the SNP's record in government, saying it was an administration characterised by "cronyism and incompetence".

The Conservatives have only one Scottish MP but 15 MSPs at Holyrood.

Ms Davidson said last year's independence referendum had put the soul back into the Scottish Conservatives.

Answering questions after her speech, she said: "I don't make predictions at elections, I never have. I've never been drawn on the numbers of seats we will have. But I have made a prediction on this one.

"I believe we are on course for returning the largest number of MSPs since devolution began. That is the challenge I have laid down to my candidates."

She said about a quarter of her supporters had voted tactically in May but that the list system for Holyrood would allow the party to maximise its support.

In her speech, she said her campaign could be boiled down to two sentences.

"We, the Scottish Conservatives, will speak for the two million Scots who want to keep our country part of the UK." she said.

"And we, the Scottish Conservatives, will always stand up for families wanting to get by and get on."

Ms Davidson outlined a new promise to Scottish voters that she would increase the carer's allowance to the same level as job seekers' allowance.

She said: "Nobody becomes a full-time carer because of money - they do it out of love - but as well as our recognition and our thanks, they deserve a little extra help and I want to make sure they get it."

And she condemned First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for "ignoring" the day-to-day concerns of Scots.

She said: "Two weeks ago, Nicola Sturgeon could simply have used the first anniversary of the referendum to repeat her own words and accept there would be no re-run for a generation.

"Instead, she only added to the fears of employers in Scotland who are telling me week in, week out that speculation of another referendum is damaging their ability to expand."

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