Ruth Davidson Targeting Regional Seats At Holyrood

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has set out her plans to target Holyrood's regional list vote in next year's elections.

She wants those who voted against independence in the 2014 referendum to cast their second vote in support of her party, arguing it is "the intelligent vote for the union''.

Ms Davidson has also called for supporters who backed other unionist parties at the general election to try to stop the SNP to return to the Tories.

Voters will elect 73 constituency MSPs with the first-past-the-post system and use their second vote to elect 56 list MSPs by an additional member system.

Only three of the 15 seats currently held by the Tories are constituency seats.

Speaking at the UK party conference in Manchester, the Scottish leader will say: "In May, many Scottish Conservative voters supported other pro-UK parties in the hope of stopping the SNP.

"I can tell you there are two reasons why this will not happen next year.

"Firstly, because Labour and the Lib Dems now seem to be embarrassed by their support for Scotland's place in the UK.

"And secondly it's because next year every single vote counts.''

She will add: "As the head of our campaign, I have made it clear to my team that I want to target the regional list vote next year.

"For so long as the SNP refuses to rule out another referendum, our message for voters looking to cast that second vote is clear. Whichever party you support, use that vote intelligently.

"If you're one of the two million people who voted No in last year's referendum, use it as your intelligent vote for the Union.

"Be assured of this - every cross in the Scottish Conservative box is a vote to promote Scotland's place as part of the United Kingdom we built. Every vote for the Scottish Conservatives will help return a Conservative MSP.''

Opposition parties called for Ms Davidson to use her speech to urge a halt on cuts to tax credits and distance herself from Home Secretary Theresa May's "divisive rhetoric'' on immigration.

Research from the House of Commons library suggests the overall impact of the tax credit and other budget changes would make the average family £1,300 worse off.

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said: "The Tories have broken their promises to be on the side of working families, cutting the tax credits many rely on.

"These cuts have been branded the new poll tax by senior Tories. Ruth Davidson shouldn't need reminding how disastrous that policy was for the Tories in Scotland.

"As Ruth Davidson addresses conference, she should stand up for working families and call for a halt to tax credit cuts.''

Ms May has announced a major overhaul of the asylum system to reduce the numbers claiming in Britain.

Her proposals include major reforms such as deporting refugees if their home countries become safe by the time their temporary leave to remain in Britain ends.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "Ruth Davidson was right to call for extra help for refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria earlier this summer but her position is at odds with the borderline xenophobia we heard from the Home Secretary at the conference.

"Ruth Davidson has the opportunity to make her position clear when she speaks on the conference platform tomorrow. She needs to take it.''

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