Ross blasts party ‘defeatists’ who believe election is lost
Douglas Ross: ‘whose side are you on’
UPDATE 4 Oct: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has played down suggestions he was the target of Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross’s attack on “defeatism” among unionists in England.
Mr Ross said there were too many of his colleagues who feel that next year’s Holyrood election is already lost and independence is inevitable.
The PM later brushed aside suggestions he was the target of the Scots leader’s comments, saying: “I think he was talking about those that don’t value the union in the way that I do.
“The union is one of the great achievements of this country.”
On the opening day of the UK Conservative party’s online conference, Mr Ross said the case for separation is now being made more effectively in London than it ever could in Edinburgh.
“Defeatism and disinterest towards the future of the Union is rife. Too many treat Scottish independence as a question of when, not if,” he said.
“If you think this way, ask yourself a question – whose side are you on?”
He accused the London media of falling over themselves to praise the SNP and give them “an easy ride”.
He said: “They don’t challenge Nicola Sturgeon on why she lied to the Scottish Parliament.
“Or on the SQA examinations fiasco or the lack of planning for students moving to halls.
“Or why Scottish schooling has reached record lows when Nicola Sturgeon said it was going to be her “number one priority”.
Mr Ross, who insisted the SNP could be defeated next year, said: “If you think Scotland’s place in the UK isn’t worth the fight, then you’re in the wrong party.
“Far too many conservatives in England have forgotten that unionism is in our party’s DNA.
“Independence would shatter the image of our United Kingdom. Instead of a Global Britain, there would be a Little England.
“My party, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, is not going to give in, not now, not ever“An SNP majority is not inevitable. Independence is not inevitable.
“I know how to beat the SNP. In 2017, I beat Angus Robertson, Nicola Sturgeon’s right-hand man, to win my Moray constituency. Last year, despite an SNP surge, I won again.
“It is time for the whole Conservative Party to rediscover its Unionism and get behind us. This is a fight we can win.”
Commenting on Ross’s speech, SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said: “Douglas Ross has had an overdue epiphany. Finally, he has woken up to what the SNP has been saying for decades – that successive Tory Governments do not care a jot for Scotland.