Theresa May 'more in touch' than Nicola Sturgeon, says Ruth Davidson

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2017

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has challenged her party to redouble efforts over the next month, saying it faces a "massive" fight against an "all-powerful SNP".

She will say: "It's to bring the SNP down to size; to show they can't take Scotland for granted; to show that we, the Scottish Conservatives, can lead Scotland's fightback against the SNP".

Yet the task facing the SNP next month is to defend its remarkable success in winning 56 out of Scotland's 59 seats at the United Kingdom election in 2015, a success based not on winning a little less than a third of the vote, but on securing 50%.

We've won more councillors, with 431 elected compared to 425 in 2012.

The Tory leader hopes to gain a significant number of the 59 Westminster seats north of the border following "very encouraging" results in last week's local government elections.

Local Greens convener, James Mackessack-Leitch, who fought the 2015 Westminster election on behalf of the party, said that he was taking a stand against next month's UK Government vote - by not standing.

Once more than half of the council's 85 seats are declared, expected to be in the next round of results, it will become clear whether the SNP can gain majority control or whether a minority administration or coalition is on the cards.

"There is no doubt, given that the SNP are doing no more than treading water, they are potentially vulnerable to the Conservatives in these seats", he said.

He said: "How much worse would it be if the only opposition to that - in Scotland - were people who want to rip the United Kingdom apart and put Scotland through another divisive referendum?"

Although that marked the first time that the SNP had managed to outpoll Labour in local elections, the outcome was, in truth, widely regarded as a disappointment for the nationalists.

Labour also had a higher percentage of first preference votes than the SNP in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, up 1.65% percentage points, and was 0.91 percentage points higher in Lanark and Hamilton East.

As a result, the Conservatives gained 164 councillors across Scotland.

If the results of Thursday's polls in Wales, Scotland and 32 county councils in England were repeated nationally, the Conservatives would be on 38%, Labour 27%, the Lib Dems 18% and UKIP 5%, according to analysis by polling expert John Curtice.

"But the votes across the country all count and we'll be looking to be the largest party in terms of seats and votes after all the votes are counted today".

The party's share of first preference votes jumped from 13.27% at the last election in 2012 to 25.3%. "A vote for any other party simply risks letting the SNP back in, and increases the risk of another unwanted referendum".

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