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Johnson has ‘uphill challenge’ to win over more Scots, says senior Tory

By PA News

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Boris Johnson has an “uphill challenge” to win over more Scots, the Tory leader in Scotland has said.

Douglas Ross pointed to poll ratings achieved by the Prime Minister when asked if Mr Johnson’s outlook “played” in Scotland.

Speaking at a fringe event at the virtual Conservative Party conference, Mr Ross said: “His approval ratings would suggest he’s got an uphill challenge to convince more and more Scots.

“But he is a proud unionist, he believes in the strength of the four nations of the United Kingdom.

I think this Government and previous governments have been guilty in the past of devolving and forgetting
Douglas Ross, Scottish Tory leader

“And his Government, whether it’s through the city and growth region deals that now cover right across every part of Scotland, or through the £6.5 billion delivered to Scotland to help us get through the Covid pandemic, this current UK Government, led by the Prime Minister, are continuing to work hard for the whole of the country.

“Right across the United Kingdom, that includes in Scotland.”

The comments by the Moray MP followed an outspoken assessment in recent days in which he said some Tory MPs were not aiding the unionist cause by their “defeatism and disinterest”.

Mr Ross said he stood by his words, telling the fringe event organised by the Onward think tank, which was hosted by Tory peer Lord Finkelstein: “I wanted to put down a marker, I think this Government and previous governments have been guilty in the past of devolving and forgetting.

“The speech was supposed to be a bit of a wake-up call and for people to reflect on – have they done enough to support the Union.”

The Scottish Tory leader also backed votes for 16 and 17-year-olds in UK general elections, stating: “At 16, people are forming very solid opinions and they are doing it in a reasoned way.”

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