Mearns councillor says Conservative Party needs to distance itself from its London base
The leader of the Alba group in Aberdeenshire has claimed the Tory party is so far removed from the people of the north-east that he can’t see any long-term prospects for them while they remain ‘tethered to Westminster’.
Mearns councillor, Leigh Wilson, delivered his verdict as the sleaze row engulfing the party reached new heights afeter MP Andrew Bowie stepped back from his role as party chair.
Cllr Wilson says the people he speaks to are ‘incredulous’ that they are led by a group of people who ‘would not at all seem out of place as characters in a PG Wodehouse novel’.
He stated: “More damagingly, the level of sleaze now contained in the Westminster bubble is, I fear, akin to the expenses scandal over a decade ago.
"People have lost trust in the Tories and they can only regain it, in my opinion, by creating a separate party in Scotland. The only way they will get a fair hearing in this part of the country is by becoming a separate entity.
"Anything less, I predict, will lead to electoral perdition.”
The idea of establishing a new Conservative Party is not a new one in Scottish circles with Murdo Fraser MSP making it a central part of his leadership campaign in 2011, in which he was ultimately defeated by Ruth Davidson.
But the idea hasn’t gone away and some commentators see merit in establishing a new brand and disbanding from London control.
Cllr Wilson added: “It really is clear that sleaze is endemic in the Conservative Party. What is obvious is that there is one rule for them and another rule for everyone else. The people of Aberdeenshire deserve better than the same old cronyism from the same old parties.”
Andrew Bowie responded to the comments by stating that at heart he has been a constituency MP since 2017 and that is where is priorities lie.
“I was honoured to serve as vice-chair of the Conservative and Unionist Party. However, over the last few months, I have come to the decision that I need to take a step back from the demands of the role to focus on representing my constituents in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
“I formally asked the Party if I could step back from my position and I will remain in post until they have found a successor.”