Tories and Labour FUEL Sturgeon's independence quest as opposition so WEAK, thinktank says

Kevin Hague made the comments after Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw stepped down, saying he had reached the “painful conclusion” he was not the right person to lead the party. Within hours of his announcement, a YouGov poll suggested he was right, with just 10 percent of the 1,134 Scottish adults interviewed saying they had a favourable view of him, with 42 percent having an unfavourable impression – a deficit of 32 percent.

Sturgeon’s figures reflect the fact that she is benefiting from the lack of effective opposition in Holyrood

Kevin Hague

Mr Hague, co-founder of the pro-Union These Islands think tank, told Express.co.uk: “I’d say those figures merely confirm what anybody paying attention to Scottish politics knows: the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon dominate the airwaves to such an extent that the two main opposition parties’ leaders are simply not cutting through – and even when they do cut through, voters are unimpressed with what they have to say.

“Sturgeon’s figures reflect the fact that she is benefiting from the lack of effective opposition in Holyrood.

“This has worrying implications beyond the big constitutional question – an effective opposition is essential to balanced and constructive political debate.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon ‘s popularity is soaring in Scotland – but Kevin Hague says she’s going unchallenged (Image: PA)

Jackson Carlaw

Jackson Carlaw quit as Scottish Conservatives leader yesterday (Image: PA)

“We can only hope that the opposition parties have reached a low watermark and that the SNP’s free-ride will come to an end soon.”

Mr Hague last week claimed the SNP was not being properly scrutinised about its push for an independent Scotland.

He cited an analysis which he had put together using historical data from the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP) and Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) to suggest Scotland had gone from being a net contributor to the UK economy in the 1980s, thanks to the revenue from North Sea oil, to being a net beneficiary to the tune of £2,000 per head every year.

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson paid tribute to Mr Carlaw after the news (Image: GETTY)

He added: “Her entire political career has been focused on breaking up the UK.

“And therefore she will say whatever she thinks she needs to say to make that happen.

“She is a very good political performer and she has shown that through the pandemic, she is very good on the podium, she emotes well, she thinks on her feet, she is articulate, she is frankly everything Boris Johnson is not and so she is trusted.”

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Richard Leonard

Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour leader, also fared poorly in the poll (Image: PA)

Douglas Ross Ruth Davidson

Douglas Ross MP, with Mr Carlaw’s predecessor Ruth Davidson, has confirmed he will contest the vacancy (Image: PA)

Explaining his decision yesterday, Mr Carlaw said: “Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.

“I believe the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the most important voice in Scotland for setting out that positive argument.

“I am clear that nothing must get in the way of doing so.

Polls Scotland

Polls have been showing a small majority backing independence for some time (Image: Express)

“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.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As an activist, deputy chairman, deputy leader and leader, he has given his all and deserves our thanks for his efforts.”

Mr Carlaw’s dismal popularity was highlighted in the YouGov poll, interviews for which were conducted between July 28 and 30.

Labour leader Richard Leonard also seems to be struggling to make headway, with 56 percent of those asked having no opinion of him either way.

Scotland independence

A poll earlier this month suggested a majority backed independence north of the border (Image: PA)

Of those who do, 36 percent had a negative view, with just 8 percent favourable.

Mrs Sturgeon, by contrast, was viewed in a positive light by 66 percent, with just 30 percent seeing her in a negative one.

The survey comes at a time of growing speculation about the possibility of a second independence referendum.

A Panelbase poll of 1026 voters earlier this month suggested 54 percent of Scots would now back independence, compared with 46 percent who would not.


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