Douglas Ross: Pro-UK parties are ignoring elephant in the room

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Scottish Labour and Liberal Democrats are “ignoring the elephant in the room” by refusing to make a unionist coalition, Douglas Ross has claimed.

The Scottish Conservative leader wants the parties to join forces in an attempt to reduce the chance of pro-independence supporting candidates taking seats in the Holyrood elections.

He was speaking after Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar told him to “grow up” and Lib Dem MP Alister Carmichael described him as being “divisive”.

Mr Ross said: “They are ignoring the elephant in the room that while we will all agree that the focus has to be on our recovery from Covid-19 and rebuilding from the pandemic, we can’t do that while the nationalists are determined to take us through another divisive and damaging independence referendum.

“It’s naive in the extreme of Anas to suggest that we can somehow ignore the threat that is being posed by the SNP and the Alba Party.

“We should be focused on getting through the health pandemic and taking on the emergency that will follow, and have the Scottish Parliament 100% laser-focused on our recovery and rebuilding.

“The nationalists want to take us back to the division of the past.

“All pro-UK parties have to recognise that and that’s why I continue to make the offer to Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrats to work with us.

“We don’t agree on everything, we will never agree on everything, but we should agree about the threat the nationalists pose to Scotland and to the rest of the UK.”

The Scottish Conservative leader reached out to other parties on Friday after Alex Salmond revealed he was spearheading a new political project, the Alba Party.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

It aims to boost pro-independence seats in Holyrood by only contesting regional seats and urging voters to back the SNP in constituency seats.

Mr Ross wrote to Mr Sarwar and Willie Rennie of the Scottish Lib Dems, saying: “We’ve got to sit down as the leaders of the three main pro-UK parties in Scotland, as we did in 2014, to look to work together to stop them.

“Nothing is off the table, I will look at any and all suggestions as to how we can do that.”

The Scottish Labour leader said: “He needs to recognise that we are in the middle of a pandemic.

“He needs to recognise that this election is not some kind of game, it’s not some kind of battle, it’s not about party politics, it’s not about individual politicians fighting with each other – it’s about focusing on a national recovery.”