DOUGLAS Ross has suggested it is not inevitable that the SNP will win a majority in May’s Holyrood election – stressing “absolutely everything is to play for”.
The Scottish Conservative leader has also downplayed the role the Prime Minister will play in his party’s campaign for the Scottish Parliament elections in a little over three months’ time – highlighting that “Boris Johnson is not on the ballot paper”.
Mr Ross was asked about the election on Times Radio, amid plans for the Scottish Government to legislate for a second independence referendum if the SNP secures a majority in May, as polls have consistently predicted will happen.
He said: “I don’t believe that it’s inevitable that the SNP will get a majority at the elections this year.”
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Mr Ross added: “If you look at the opinion polling, the SNP are roughly where they were ahead of the 2016 Scottish elections. The Scottish Conservatives are actually, in some of the polls, doing a bit better than we were at this time ahead of the 2016 elections.
“The SNP went into that election with a majority and came out of it having lost their majority because the Scottish Conservatives more than doubled their seats from 15 to 31.
“Absolutely everything is to play for in the run-up to the elections later on this year.”
The Scottish Conservatives leader, who is currently an MP but is standing for Holyrood in May, was asked whether the Prime Minister is “a benefit to you”, going into an election campaign amid polls suggesting Mr Johnson is deeply unpopular with Scots.
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Mr Ross stressed that “Boris Johnson is not on the ballot paper in May”.
He added: “I lead the Scottish party north of the border and I assemble the team, the policies and the platform that I will go to the public on in a few months’ time.
“I think it’s a platform where we are showing there has been a great failure by the SNP over many issues that they are in charge of here in Scotland – particularly during a pandemic when people are still losing their lives in Scotland.
“That’s where our focus should be – getting through this virus, ensuring the vaccine rollout is as strong as possible in Scotland, not entering into personality debates and debates about separation.”
The Scottish Tory leader was asked to confirm if “Boris Johnson’s face will not be on your campaign leaflets”.
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He said: “Boris Johnson is not standing for a seat in the Scottish Parliament – I am and my team are standing for seats right across the 73 constituencies and regions here in Scotland.
“The Prime Minister, as Prime Minister as the United Kingdom, will be up to Scotland, he’s been in Scotland several times.
“Ultimately, this is a campaign I’m leading for the Scottish Conservatives, taking the fight to the SNP. We see with all the other unionist parties, they don’t have the strength right across the country, to take that fight to the nationalists.”