Leader of anti-independence Scottish Conservatives resigns

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jackson Carlaw speaks at a news conference after being announced as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives in Edinburgh, Scotland

LONDON (Reuters) – The leader of the Scottish wing of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party resigned on Thursday, saying he was not the right man to make the case against Scotland’s pro-independence movement at upcoming elections.

Jackson Carlaw, 61, quit after six months running the Scottish Conservatives, during which time support for Scottish independence – staunchly opposed by the Conservatives – has grown, fuelled by public dismay over Brexit and the central British government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom,” Carlaw said in a statement.

“In the last few weeks, I have reached a simple if painful conclusion – that I am not, in the present circumstances, the person best placed to lead that case over these next vital months in Scottish politics prior to the Holyrood elections.”

Holyrood, the devolved parliament that decides some areas of policy in Scotland, is run by the pro-independence Scottish National Party of Nicola Sturgeon and will hold elections in May 2021.

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