2019 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election

The 2019 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election will be the next internal party election to elect the next leader of the Scottish Conservatives, the second largest political party in the devolved Scottish Parliament. Ruth Davidson, who won the previous leadership election in 2011, resigned on 29 August 2019, following disputes and tensions with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, their differences on Brexit and the pressure of motherhood on Davidson's leadership.

2019 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election
 2011 Late 2019[1]

Leader before election

Jackson Carlaw (Acting)
Previously Ruth Davidson

Elected Leader


The leadership election could take place in late 2019, however it has been speculated that a new permanent leader won't be in place until 2020 due to the growing divisions of Brexit and the decision of having an early general election on 12 December 2019.


On 28 August 2019, the Scottish Sun reported that Ruth Davidson was 'on the verge of resigning' due to complications with Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson and the pressure with motherhood after giving birth to her first child in October 2018.[2]

On 29 August 2019, Ruth Davidson confirmed her resignation and stated that she would remain an MSP until 2021 whilst deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw, who previously stood in for Davidson during her maternity leave, was announced as interim leader of the party ahead of the leadership election.

Herald Scotland reported that a source from the Scottish Conservatives stated that a permanent leader might not be in office until 2020 citing divisions in Brexit and a possible general election playing part in it.

On 1 September 2019, Adam Tomkins proposed that if he was ever to stand and be elected as leader, he said that he might propose a new party to replace the Scottish Conservatives to instead create a pro-union alliance party made up of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats MSPs however he stated that if Murdo Fraser would stand, he would not.


No candidate has formally declared their intention to stand however speculation has raised for several candidates to replace Ruth Davidson as leader of the party.



  • Liam Kerr - justice spokesperson; appointed Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party instead

Timeline of events

  • 29 August – Ruth Davidson announces her resignation as Scottish Conservative leader.
  • 1 September – Adam Tomkins states that he would not stand for leadership if Murdo Fraser stands.[10]
  • 8 September – A new campaign, Scottish Conservatives Together, is set up in response to oppose an independent Scottish Conservative party. The campaign has hinted the possibility of Murdo Fraser or Adam Tomkins running for leader as they have advocated for a split in the party.
  • 14 October – The Scottish Conservatives begin the process of selecting a permanent leader.

See also


  1. Green, Chris (2019-08-29). "No immediate Tory leadership election, Jackson Carlaw to step in until around October". @cghgreen. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  2. "Scottish Tory leader 'on verge of quitting'". 2019-08-29. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  3. "Jackson Carlaw appointed interim Scottish Conservatives leader". Evening Standard. 2019-08-29. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  4. Scottish Political Editor, Kieran Andrews (2019-08-29). "Sidelined Ruth Davidson quits as Scottish Tory leader". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  5. Andrews, Kieran (2019-08-30). "Vanquished foe is favourite to win this time". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  6. "Scottish Tories likely to be without a new leader until 2020". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  7. "Who will replace Ruth Davidson as Scottish Tory leader?". The National. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  8. Johnson, Simon (2019-08-29). "Senior Scottish Tories call for debate over loosening ties with UK party after Ruth Davidson's resignation". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  9. Editor, Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political (2019-08-29). "Johnson and Tories will suffer as Davidson steps down as leader". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  10. Boothman, John (2019-09-01). "Boost for Fraser in bid to replace Davidson". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 2019-09-01.