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by Joseph Anderson
02 August 2022
Truss or Sunak: Who are Scottish Tories backing to be the next PM?

Truss or Sunak: Who are Scottish Tories backing to be the next PM?

Liz Truss has pulled ahead of Rishi Sinak among Scottish Conservative MSPs, after a raft of them confirmed they were backing the foreign secretary on Monday.

Sunak, the more centrist of the two candidates, has won the support of seven Scottish Tory MSPs, while Liz Truss, an ardent Johnson supporter, has won the backing of nine.

Just less than half of Tory MSPs have not yet said who they will be supporting.

Former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Jackson Carlaw, is backing Sunak in the leadership race, saying: “Rishi is the right and best candidate to be our next PM, with his experience and vision for our United Kingdom.”

Donald Cameron, Maurice Golden, Jeremy Balfour, Dean Lockhart and Miles Briggs are supporting Sunak. Liz Smith previously told Holyrood she was “very likely” to support the former Chancellor.

Briggs said: “I believe Rishi has the proven experience in government to lead the whole of our United Kingdom through the challenging years to come and provide the positive unifying leadership to demonstrate why Scotland's future is at the heart of Britain.”

Douglas Lumsden has declared his support for Truss. He said she "cares passionately about the Union", but also weighing into his thinking was oil and gas. "She understands the value of the energy industry to the North East," he added. Sharon Dowey also confirmed she is supporting Truss in a tweet, while Oliver Mundell was reported to be backing the foreign secretary too.

Those three MSPs were joined by Rachael Hamilton, Finlay Carson, Murdo Fraser, Liam Kerr, Stephen Kerr and Graham Simpson on Monday with a joint statement published in The Times. "With Liz as prime minister the Union won’t just be defended, it will be championed," the MSPs wrote.

Fourteen Scottish Tory MSPs are yet to declare. Lothian MSP Sue Webber is undecided, telling Holyrood: “Now we are down to two candidates I will be taking the time to assess and understand their policy platforms, leadership style and determine who I think will be best to lead my country and tackle the big issues of the day – cost of living crisis, economic recovery – whilst tackling the party’s challenges when it comes to integrity, culture and behaviour. These are very important to me."

She is joined in the undecided column by Jamie Greene, Brian Whittle and Edward Mountain. Jamie Halcro Johnston has also said he is still to decide, but has been disappointed by the "negative blue-on-blue attacks" by colleagues, particularly Nadine Dorries.

Party leader Douglas Ross will not publicly declare who he is backing.

The only Tory member hustings event to be held in Scotland takes place in Perth on Tuesday 16 August.

The winner will be announced on Monday 5 September.

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