July 30, 2020 / 6:05 PM / 9 days ago

Leader of anti-independence Scottish Conservatives resigns

FILE PHOTO: Jackson Carlaw speaks at a news conference after being announced as leader of the Scottish Conservatives in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/

LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of the Scottish wing of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party resigned on Thursday, saying he was not the right man to make the case against Scotland’s pro-independence movement at upcoming elections.

Jackson Carlaw, 61, quit after six months running the Scottish Conservatives, during which time support for Scottish independence - staunchly opposed by the Conservatives - has grown, fuelled by public dismay over Brexit and the central British government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom,” Carlaw said in a statement.

“In the last few weeks, I have reached a simple if painful conclusion - that I am not, in the present circumstances, the person best placed to lead that case over these next vital months in Scottish politics prior to the Holyrood elections.”

Holyrood, the devolved parliament that decides some areas of policy in Scotland, is run by the pro-independence Scottish National Party of Nicola Sturgeon and will hold elections in May 2021.

Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison

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