The race to become the next leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party will feature four candidates, with Central Scotland MSP Margaret Mitchell entering the campaign at the eleventh hour.
Mitchell today officially announced she was joining the race, following speculation on Wednesday that she would join Murdo Fraser, Ruth Davidson and Jackson Carlaw, who have already launched their campaigns.
Speaking to the Tory Hoose blog, Mitchell said: “In terms of my bid for the leadership, I wanted to wait to see if any of the Candidates were actually representative of the views of both myself and the vast majority of the membership of the Party. I feel that they haven’t offered anything different.”
“During the last couple of days, I have been hearing collective sighs of relief from those in the party who now have a voice that represents their vision of Scottish Conservatism. They have been telling me that they no longer have a quandary over who to vote for. I will deliver my manifesto on what I will bring to the party if elected at my forthcoming launch and the members will have a chance to listen to my plans tomorrow at the hustings in Inverness.
“It’s now time to stand up and be counted and listen to the people. Politics is all about people.”
Candidates wishing to appear on the ballot needed to secure 100 nominations from party members by today. Fraser, Carlaw and Davidson all issued statements declaring they had reached the threshold.
Davidson welcomed the addition of Mitchell to the campaign, saying: “I am delighted to be taking part in an election campaign that offers a real diversity and a broad range of ideas. I look forward to putting forward my case, my vision for the party and to vigorous debate with my three fellow contenders.”
Claiming that her campaign tour of every constituency association in Scotland was revealing considerable support for her leadership bid, Davidson said: “I see it in every stop I make and every member I meet and I am greatly encouraged in my quest to lead a Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party which once again has the ability to win.”
In statement, Carlaw said: “As I look at the list of those who are supporting me I am delighted and humbled to see so many of those with whom I have worked and campaigned during nearly 35 years of experience with the Party.”
“I welcome too the support of younger members and on a personal basis three generations of my own family on whose tolerance I so often depend.”