I prefer change, says MSP as he backs Fraser’s plans

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GALLOWAY MSP and former presiding officer Alex Fergusson has pledged his support to controversial plans by leadership hopeful Murdo Fraser to form a break-away Tory party with a new name should he take the seat.

Mr Fraser announced his plans, which have already caused rifts with his colleagues, to see the party “adapt or die”, as part of his leadership launch on Monday.

He claimed the Scottish Conservatives need to win back their voters and they couldn’t do that with the poor feeling towards the current Westminster Tories.

Alex Fergusson is just one of several high-profile figures who have been vocal about their support for a new centre right party for Scotland.

Speaking after the launch of Mr Fraser’s campaign in Edinburgh, Mr Fergusson said: “I am greatly enthused and excited by Murdo Fraser’s proposals for the future of our party under his leadership. They are radical, visionary and vitally important for the future of our country.

“For the first time since devolution, the people of Scotland will be offered a real and credible alternative to the SNP’s separatist agenda of Independence – an alternative that will bring about a Scotland with more say on Scottish affairs within a devolved United Kingdom – a Scotland with a parliament and government that is truly accountable to the Scottish electorate by raising a considerable proportion of our own budget here in Scotland rather than having to rely on a handout from the UK Government.”

But bank rolling the revolutionary party could prove difficult as news came that Mr Fraser’s rival Ruth Davidson issued a statement from Sir Jack Harvie, who raises £1 million a year for the party, saying he would not fund a new party.

Mr Fraser claims finances will be in be place.

Mr Fergusson continued: “The new party led by Murdo Fraser will offer a new unionism and a new political position in Scotland, and that requires a new name and organisation. I do not believe he has opened up a division within our party – he has opened up a long overdue debate which we need to have. This leadership campaign gives the perfect platform to conduct that debate, which could well be entitled ‘Change or die’. Me? I prefer to change.”

Murdo Fraser said he has not discussed his “new dawn” with Prime Minister David Cameron.

He added: “Because it is a leadership election for the Scottish Conservatives, it would be inappropriate for the prime minister or other senior figures in the UK party to take a position on this.

“They are happy to leave it to the members of the Scottish Conservative Party to take a decision and they will work with whatever decision they come up with.”