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by Kirsteen Paterson
09 May 2022
Douglas Ross announces new Scottish Conservative chair and deputy leader

Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives campaigning in Edinburgh

Douglas Ross announces new Scottish Conservative chair and deputy leader

Changes at the top after council elections 'disappointment'

The Scottish Conservative Party has announced a new chairman and deputy leader after last week's bruising council elections.

The party has hailed its "second-best result since devolution", but it lost more than 60 seats in the local government contest and, at 214 seats to a resurgent Labour's 282, slipped to third place. 

Leader Douglas Ross called the figures "very disappointing" and vowed to win back the trust of voters.

Former MSP Adam Tomkins called on Ross to "own" the result amidst questions about the Moray MP's position.

Now Ross has announced two key changes at the top of the party, with South Scotland MSP Craig Hoy to take over as chair and Central Scotland MSP Meghan Gallacher becoming the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Departing chair Rab Forman said it is "time to move on".

Thanking Forman, Ross called him a "devoted servant", saying: "At my request, Rab willingly agreed to stay on after last year’s election to provide stability in the first year of a new Scottish Parliament term while we also appointed a new party director. 

"After a successful period as honorary secretary, Rab became chairman in 2015. During that time, he has presided over the renaissance of the Scottish Conservative Party and been the steady hand on the tiller under three leaders. 

"Rab was our chairman for excellent Scottish Parliament results in 2016 and 2021, as well as our most successful general elections and local elections. He has made a significant contribution to that success. He leaves the job of party chairman with the best wishes and gratitude of everyone in our party."

On the new appointments, Ross said: "In a short space of time, Craig has proven to be incredibly hard working. He will bring an unmatched drive and energy to the role. 

"Meghan has a bright future in our party. She is an outstanding local representative for her constituents and I am sure she will prove to be just as effective in this new position."

Hoy, who was the founding editor of Holyrood magazine, commented: "I’m thrilled to accept this position. There’s a big challenge facing our party but, under Douglas Ross’ leadership and with the team of MSPs we have, I’m convinced we can move forward to even greater heights than he delivered last year.  

"All of our focus now needs to be on how we build up the party’s operations so that we can remove the SNP from power in the future."

Gallacher added: "I’m honoured to be asked to be deputy leader and I can’t wait to get started. 

"We are determined to win back the trust of every Scottish Conservative voter who backed the party in last year’s election."

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