/Tory leadership contest gets vicious as gloves come off

Tory leadership contest gets vicious as gloves come off

The Scottish Tory leadership contest turned ugly after challengers launched personal attacks.

Front-runner Jackson Carlaw reacted with anger when right-winger Michelle Ballantyne slated his handling of the general election campaign.

She started a series of tit-for-tat blows by claiming there had been a “golden opportunity” to add MPs in Scotland last month.

“We had the right candidates but our party in Scotland lacked vision and ambition,” she complained.

Carlaw hit back in an interview with Tory-supporting paper  The Daily Telegraph.

The acting leader blasted: “In all the time that she’s been in the shadow cabinet, Michelle is the only member of it never to have brought forward a single policy proposal or to table a single policy paper. I find that curious.”

Scottish Conservative Michelle Ballantyne at the Scottish Parliament.
(Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Ballantyne is trying to appeal to the Brexit-supporting right wing of the party, and is said to be spooking Carlaw’s campaign team. She has provoked fury with some of her hard-line outbursts in parliament, including claims poorer parents shouldn’t be able to have as many children as they want.

Her outlandish view on the “benefits” of climate change were exposed earlier this week.

She claimed Carlaw is getting nervous and accused her opponent of overseeing leaks and “tall tales” from the shadow cabinet room.

Carlaw is seen as more moderate, but suffered a backlash by swinging his Scottish group’s support behind Johnson without consultation.

The contest is being held to replace Ruth Davidson.

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