Unionist parties should field single candidate to win SNP seats, says ex-MSP

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  • Adam Tomkins
    British legal scholar (born 1969)
Unionist parties have been urged to join together to avoid splitting the anti-SNP vote (Alan Simpson/PA) (PA Archive)
Unionist parties have been urged to join together to avoid splitting the anti-SNP vote (Alan Simpson/PA) (PA Archive)

Unionist parties should band together to field a sole candidate in each seat against the SNP in elections, a former Conservative MSP has said.

Adam Tomkins, who represented the Glasgow region before standing down from the Scottish Parliament in the May election, called on opposition parties to “get real” to tackle the “zombie Government”.

In a scathing attack on the Scottish political scene, Mr Tomkins criticised all sides and called for a “different politics”, urging the Scottish Government to “resolve to start governing” and the Scottish people to “wake up”.

Scotland's is a zombie Government for a population grown so used to mediocrity it can't remember any better

Adam Tomkins

Writing in The Herald, he said: “None of the opposition parties are going to get anywhere near power until they break free of the millstones around their necks, divorce themselves from their London parties, and come together to offer a single, united front against the Nationalist ascendancy.

“That does not mean messing about on the lists, Alliance-for-Unity style. It means taking on the SNP, seat by seat, with a single opponent instead of splitting the anti-SNP vote three ways.”

He added: “The Nationalists are in the ascendancy, as they were a year ago. They are tired and exhausted and punch drunk and wholly without a plan to get from where we are to where they want us to be.

“Not especially interested in governing, they are condemned to continue in government, almost as miserable as their opponents that there really is no alternative. Scotland’s is a zombie Government for a population grown so used to mediocrity it can’t remember any better.”

Conservative Adam Tomkins stood down as an MSP in May (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
Conservative Adam Tomkins stood down as an MSP in May (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

“Meanwhile, the Unionists are as divided as ever. The Tories are standing still and likely from here only to go backwards, dragged down by goings on in London they can neither control nor influence. Labour are as unsure as ever of where their vote is coming from.

“For every four ex-Labour voters in Scotland, three have drifted to the SNP and one to the Tories. Do Labour go soft on the Union to get the SNP voters back, or hard on the hapless UK Government to get the Tory voters back?

“Unless and until they resolve that question, they have no future in Scottish politics, no matter how impressive Anas Sarwar may otherwise be as a campaigner.”

The SNP secured a record fourth term in Government in the Holyrood election in May when they won 64 seats – one more than in 2016 but one short of a majority.

The Scottish Tories returned 31 MSPs, equalling their 2016 performance, while Labour dropped two to 22.

An SNP spokesman said: “Mr Tomkins clearly hasn’t learned from the last time he suggested this ludicrous theory.

“Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats know that sharing a ticket with the Tories would signal the end of their parties’ integrity in Scotland.

“Instead of offering desperate theories on how to beat the SNP, Mr Tomkins would be better placed trying to come up with a constructive and positive argument for Scotland remaining part of his beloved Union.”

Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives declined to comment.

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