Scottish Tories brace for ‘heavy loss’ in elections as partygate may set party in ‘third’

Keir Starmer says Tories are ‘mudslinging’

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Senior party insiders have stated a “sizeable number” of Conservative supporters had refused to come out and vote, because they were furious at the Prime Minister’s conduct, the Telegraph revealed. Tory campaigners who pressed voters on their doorsteps were told the reason was “100 percent Boris and partygate”, sources told the publication.

One of the insiders said: “We’re expecting them to send a message to Boris here.”

According to the news report, Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, is understood to be bracing himself for large losses even in the Conservatives’ traditional strongholds when the results for the country’s 32 local authorities are announced on Friday.

He was said to have resigned to dropping behind Labour into third – the first time this has happened since the Tories became Scotland’s main opposition party in 2016, despite confidently predicting during the campaign that they would finish second.

The news report stated that it is understood Tory support has declined even in strongholds like Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth and Kinross and East Renfrewshire.

One insider told the publication: “We’re expecting to come third and we’re expecting to suffer pretty heavy losses.

“A lot of our vote is holding strong but there are enough Tory voters who are just going to stay at home and send a message to Boris that way.

“It’s people who are Conservatives and are strong Unionists.”

But the insider added: “Douglas won’t be going anywhere.

“The voters don’t even bring up the Scottish Tory position – their emotional motivating factor is partygate.”

The SNP won 431 seats in the 2017 contest, while the Tories under Ms Davidson’s leadership gained an extraordinary 164 seats – taking their tally to 276.

Labour dropped 133 to 262 five years ago.

However, a series of opinion polls have predicted the Conservatives will be pushed back into third again this time.

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The counting of votes starts on Friday morning, with results expected to be declared throughout the afternoon.

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