Scottish Tories blame Partygate for suffering huge losses in local elections – POLITICO

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EDINBURGH – Scotland’s Tories have blamed Boris Johnson after suffering heavy losses in Scotland’s local elections.

The Tories lost 61 seats and slipped to third place behind Scottish Labor in Scotland’s local government elections, resulting in a “very disappointing” result from Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

Thursday’s local council elections in London and many parts of England, Scotland and Wales were Johnson’s first test of elections since he was fined by police for attending lockdown busting parties at Downing Street. While Johnson’s party fared poorly in Scotland and London, elsewhere in England a more mixed picture emerged, giving the British Prime Minister just enough to keep his critics at bay.

In Scotland, however, where voters had long disliked Johnson, it was clear that the remaining electoral glory was gone.

“It was certainly the Partygate issue that dominated the discussions I had with voters who were reluctant to come out and support us as they have in the past,” Ross told the BBC, citing the scandal surrounding gatherings going against coronavirus rules violated in Downing Street.

He stopped urging Johnson to leave but said the Prime Minister “just couldn’t ignore the message that was being sent by voters” across Scotland.

The Scottish Tory leader was one of the first senior Tories to call for Johnson’s resignation back in January, before promptly revising his position over the war in Ukraine.

The reversal derailed his party’s campaign, which was plagued by questions about Johnson’s position and why Ross backed down from his call for the Prime Minister’s resignation.

Scottish Labor and the pro-independence Scottish National Party – which came out on top – were the main beneficiaries of the Conservatives’ losses. Scotland’s Liberal Democrats and power-sharing SNP ally, the Scottish Greens, also made small numbers of gains across Scotland.

Once dominant in Scottish politics, Scottish Labor fell to historic lows after the 2014 independence referendum and has finished third behind the SNP and the Conservatives in all local, regional and national elections since 2016.

The party’s mini-resurgence in Thursday’s vote saw Labor gain control of West Dunbartonshire Council and finish a single seat behind the SNP in Glasgow, a former stronghold more recently dominated by the SNP. Scottish Labor Party leader Anas Sarwar told broadcasters that Friday was “the first happy day for the Scottish Labor Party in almost a decade”.

The SNP also took advantage of Tory troubles to win the overall majority in Dundee while remaining comfortably top of the national table overall.

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP took first place in local elections on Friday | Peter Summers/Getty Images

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called her party “won the election by a country mile”.

The only party to have had a worse day than the Scottish Tories was the Alba party, led by former First Minister Alex Salmond, as a vehicle for nationalists unhappy with the SNP. Salmond’s party failed to win a single council seat, despite contesting more than a hundred.

finger pointing

Some Conservatives turned against their Scottish leader, Ross, when the results came in.

“It was Douglas who turned around, Douglas who tipped over and Douglas who supported the Prime Minister,” said Adam Tomkins, a former Tory MSP who is highly regarded in Tory circles. tweeted.

“He and his team must face the consequences and not pass the buck,” added Tomkins.

The Scottish Tories lost their position as the largest party in two councils including Perth and Kinross, widely seen ahead of the vote as a “lead changer” that would signal how the party had fared. Gains made there under popular former leader Ruth Davidson in 2017 were largely reversed on Friday, with the SNP leading the way.

Perth and Kinross Tory Councilor Chris Ahern told POLITICO ahead of Election Day that he and his colleagues had been “thrown in” by Johnson as they braced for losses. However, he also said he was concerned about the impression voters were having of Ross.

“I think the fact that Ruth Davidson was there last time was a huge boost and I think the fact that we don’t have her now and we have Douglas — I think that’s a bit of a concern,” he said Ahern.

Scottish Tory insiders complained of struggles during the campaign to motivate their normally dependable constituents. One who fought mostly in Perth and Kinross said on Friday the casualties there were due to low turnout in the Tory base.

“From the doors, people didn’t change [parties] — they were just less enthusiastic about voting,” they said. Scottish Tories blame Partygate for suffering huge losses in local elections - POLITICO

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