Davidson moves to Edinburgh for Holyrood elections

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, will fight the 2016 Scottish elections for an Edinburgh seat rather than defend her current Glasgow constituency.

The Independent reports that Davidson moved to the Scottish capital to direct the party’s general election campaign – which fell just 328 votes short of returning a second Tory MP – and has decided to stay there.

She is currently the party’s only Glasgow MSP and, along with a councillor, one of only two elected Conservatives in the entire city.

The Tory leader argues that the move will allow her to focus better on her duties in the Scottish Parliament and on the upcoming election campaign.

Davidson has been bullish about the party’s chances in north-east Scotland, an area which has returned strong SNP results since the 1990s but delivered a firm ‘No’ in last year’s referendum on independence.

Corbyn goes down a storm in Glasgow, Cardiff and (West) Belfast…

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to bring gay marriage and easier access to abortion to Northern Ireland in the event that he becomes Prime Minister, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

The provincial government in Belfast has until now used its devolved powers to pursue more socially conservative policies than those of the mainland.

Unsurprisingly, he also claimed he would reverse the Government’s welfare policies and convene new talks with Sinn Fein on the topic – although in light of Westminster capitulation it isn’t clear what there would be to talk about.

A two-year stand-off between the republicans and unionists over implementing Universal Credit and welfare cuts has brought the Northern Ireland Assembly to the brink of collapse.

Corbyn was addressing the West Belfast Festival last week, with one local site saying he “stole the show”.

Meanwhile, he is set to conclude a string of events in Scotland with a sell-out appearance in Glasgow, with demand sufficient to require a move to a larger venue, whilst a Cardiff appearance has been described by Wales Online as “one of best attended formal political meetings seen in Wales since the miners’ strike”.

Close to a thousand people reportedly came to hear him speak at a local hotel, including hundreds left standing throughout.

Despite backing Yvette Cooper Peter Hain, the former MP for the Welsh constituency of Neath, claimed that the Islington MP was “mining a very rich seam of real anger about austerity”.

…as he refuses to condemn IRA terror attacks

The far-left front runner in the contest for the Labour leadership has been attacked for refusing to condemn IRA terrorist attacks – and describing them as the equivalent of the British Army.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Corbyn was challenged by a host from BBC Radio Ulster but refused to explicitly attack the Republican group. Instead he claimed to condemn “all bombing” and tried to shift the focus to the Army, highlighting the Bloody Sunday massacre.

As one scathing reaction on Labour Uncut described it:

“…the leading candidate for the Labour leadership and our potential offer of Prime Minister to the British people…five times refused to explicitly condemn the IRA and equated the British army with a non-state terrorist organisation that murdered British civilians as a matter of policy.”

Corbyn’s long-standing sympathy for the IRA stretches back to the 1980s, when he hosted Gerry Adams at the House of Commons just weeks after the Brighton Bombing which murdered a Tory MP and almost the Prime Minister.

SNP councillor quits party after racist abuse

The Scottish National Party’s only Chinese councillor has resigned from the party amidst accusations of bullying and racism.

The Scotsman relates that Yen Hongmei Jin, who sits on Dumfries and Galloway council, felt forced to resign after the party hierarchy failed to protect her from discrimination by local members, some of whom objected to her organising a Burns Night despite ‘not being Scottish’.

This comes as the SNP’s council presents has been reaping the benefits of its seemingly unstoppable march towards next year’s elections with a string of solid by-election wins.

Sinn Fein leader’s cousin faces terror charges in Dublin

The cousin of Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein leader and former MP for Belfast West, has been charged with terror offences in the Republic of Ireland.

Kevin Hannaway was one of four arrested on Saturday as part of an ongoing campaign against dissident republican activity in the Dublin region, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Along with a fifth suspect they will appear in court again on August 17.

Hannaway was a founding member of the Provisional IRA and is involved in a long-running attempt to overturn a 1978 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which exonerated the British Army of torture charges.

Separatist hardliners split off from SNP with new party

A group of nationalists have broken away from the all-conquering SNP to set up a new separatist outfit.

The founders of the Scottish Independence Party (SIP) were, according to Buzzfeed, driven by the SNP’s refusal to discuss a second referendum at their upcoming party conference.

Membership is free, and they apparently hope to field candidates in every constituency at next year’s Holyrood elections. Under the proportional system used this will not split the nationalist vote.

It claims that there is “no longer a voice…for independence in Scotland at the next election” because Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, believes circumstances need to change substantially since last year’s rejection to call a new vote, according to the Daily Record.