Congratulations to Jackson Carlaw who has been elected Leader of the Scottish Conservatives. Carlaw is the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Eastwood. He was already serving as the interim leader after Ruth Davidson resigned in August. His policy proposals include increasing the number of teachers in Scotland by 2,000, bringing income tax rates into line with England, and opposing SNP plans for a Parking Tax.

Commiserations to Michelle Ballantyne who challenged him for the post.  She is an MSP for the South Scotland region. While the odds were always against her, she felt it was important not to have a “coronation”. The contest has been positive and helped attract media interest in the Scottish Conservative message. But she did criticise the Scottish Conservative campaign in the General Election saying it “lacked vision and ambition”. She has congratulated Carlaw.

Carlaw was very much the favourite, and won by a decisive margin, gaining over three-quarters of the vote. The full result was as follows:

Ballantyne: 1,581 (24 per cent)
Carlaw: 4,917 (76 per cent)

In 2011, when Ruth Davidson was elected, a total of 5,676 votes were cast. So the higher figure this time is an encouraging sign – especially as the 2011 contest was much tighter.

Carlaw said:

“This is not about asking the people of Scotland to re-elect us as a strong opposition, this is about offering the people of Scotland a clear alternative to the SNP and then fighting all the way to polling day next year to provide them with an alternative government.

“I have a bigger share of the vote than Boris Johnson achieved in his leadership election, I have a bigger share of the vote than Ruth Davidson achieved, a bigger share of the vote than David Cameron achieved in any of the previous Conservative Party leadership elections.

 “So I have a clear mandate from the party in Scotland now to make the changes required to lead us into the election next year.”

Both candidates wrote for us setting out their cases. Ballantyne’s is here. Carlaw’s is here.

Elections for the Scottish Parliament take place next year.