Tory leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat has made his first pitch to Scottish Tory members, stressing the need for “serious and tested leadership” for the party to be successful in Scotland.
The MP, who this week put himself forward to replace the beleaguered Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, said the party required a “fresh start” after the dramatic exit of the former leader.
Mr Tugendhat is thought to have support among Scottish Tory MSPs, with chief whip Stephen Kerr and North East representative Douglas Lumsden having publicly declared their desire to see the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chairman take over.
Writing in The Times on Saturday, Mr Tugendhat said the party is the only one that voters can “trust to unequivocally stand up for the union and Scotland’s role within it”.
He added: “If we are to defeat Labour and the SNP-Green coalition, our party will need a fresh start under serious and tested leadership. I have put my name forward to lead the Conservative Party to help deliver that fresh start.”
Mr Tugendhat continued: “We must act now to restore trust and repair integrity in British politics; the challenges we face at home and abroad require sober leadership.
“A clean slate is an opportunity to restore this integrity to our politics.”
The party has been on the rise in Scotland in the past decade, overtaking Labour at the 2016 Holyrood election, but the party lost ground in May’s local elections with senior figures blaming the partygate saga for a drop in votes and return to third place.
The MP, who was elected in 2015, will face stiff competition from former ministers including the recently-resigned Rishi Sunak and Attorney General Suella Braverman in the contest, with the field expected to widen in the coming days.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is widely expected to announce her candidacy, and has already received support from MPs.