Davidson calls for united opposition to give Holyrood ‘teeth’

The Scottish Conservative leader has called on other opposition parties to come together to give the Scottish Parliament more power to scrutinise the executive.

Proposals include making sure that non-SNP MSPs become conveners of key committees, whose effectiveness is undermined by Nationalist MSPs’ refusal to criticise their Party.

Writing on this site yesterday, Davidson recognised the responsibility resting on her since she seized the mantle of opposition from a hapless Scottish Labour Party.

Welsh Conservatives lack ‘appetite’ for leadership change

A former Tory AM has claimed that the party is not interested in replacing Andrew RT Davies, according to Wales Online.

In contrast to a very strong Scottish result, in Wales the party lost three AMs and slipped back into third behind Plaid Cymru.

Labour’s seat total held up remarkably well despite a falling vote, with only a shock win in Rhondda by Leanne Wood, the nationalist leader, decreasing their strength.

Despite a ‘proportional’ electoral system, Wales Online reports that Labour may continue to ‘dominate’ Wales with the support of just three voters in ten.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats lost four of their five AMs. Kirsty Williams, who increased her vote in Brecon and Radnorshire, has since resigned the leadership.

Nationalism continues to recede in the Northern Ireland Assembly

Both Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) suffered new setbacks over the weekend, as the results of the latest Northern Irish elections were counted.

The SDLP shed two seats and came within 100 votes of losing a third, whilst Sinn Fein lost one. They also lost 2.2 and 2.9 per cent of the vote respectively.

Both the Democratic Unionists and Ulster Unionists lost less than one per cent and held all their seats, with the DUP almost snatching one from the SDLP in Belfast West, where there hasn’t been a Unionist MLA since 2007.

Two of the seats were picked up by the Irish-based People Before Profit Alliance, and one by the Greens on a disappointing night for both Labour rebels and the Conservatives.

Both the UUP and SDLP now face a difficult decision about whether or not to go into opposition.

Greens try to pull SNP left to prop up minority government

The Herald reports that Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens and one of his party’s six MSPs, hopes to force Nicola Sturgeon to increase taxes on the better off in exchange for supporting her budget.

During the election the SNP tried hard to squeeze out other separatist parties, including the Greens, with their “both votes SNP” strategy, but are now having to adjust their position.

Harvie’s ultimatum highlights how new powers and no majority may make it difficult for the SNP to hold together their coalition without another imminent referendum.

Hamilton wins the leadership of UKIP’s Welsh Assembly group

The one-time Conservative MP was elected to lead his new party’s delegation in the Assembly by four votes to three, defeating Nathan Gill.

Gill was appointed UKIP’s Welsh leader by Nigel Farage, who continued to support him and has a record of opposing Hamilton, and will continue in that role despite not leading in Cardiff Bay.

Farage has since described Gill’s deposition as “unjust and an act of deep ingratitude”, Wales Online reports as it invites you to ‘follow the fallout’.

Hamilton cited his Parliamentary and ministerial experience to justify taking the job. Gill is now reported to be reconsidering his pledge to step down as an MEP.

Ex-Scottish Labour leader wants to be Presiding Officer

Johann Lamont has announced her intention to try to become Presiding Officer (Speaker) of the Scottish Parliament, according to The Scotsman.

Setting out her reasons in the Daily Record, she cites her experience as one of the ‘Class of ’99’ and desire to strengthen the institution. She is running against Ken Macintosh, also of Labour, and John Scott, the Conservative MSP for Ayr.

Lamont departed the leadership of her party in acrimonious circumstances, with a barbed reference to it as a ‘branch office’ of UK Labour.

End of NI21 saga as McCallister fails to hold Assembly seat

One of the two MLAs who founded – and then tore apart – the NI21 party has lost his bid to stay in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the News Letter reports.

He and Basil McCrea founded the non-sectarian, unionist party after resigning from the UUP – and dashing the hopes of the Northern Irish Conservatives, who had high hopes of their defection.

South Down only has two unionist seats, so it was always a long shot. Only weeks ago he passed a bill creating Opposition structures in the Assembly.