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28 August 2006

Rebels urge party members to oust all Tory MSPs at Holyrood elections - The Scotsman

by HAMISH MACDONELL, Scottish Political Error, The Scotsman

* Activists call for de-selection of all Scottish Tory MSPs
* Move highlights MSPs' failures in the Scottish Parliament
* Deep divisions evident within Scottish Conservatives

Key quote: "Many Conservatives believe that our MSPs have failed in their duty to highlight the enormous costs, and now the generally accepted uselessness, of the Scottish Parliament, which the Conservatives so accurately predicted prior to devolution." Tory candidate, Jim Mackie

GRASSROOTS Scottish Conservative activists have called for all of the party's 17 MSPs to be de-selected in a damaging internal rebellion that threatens to derail Tory chances of making gains at next year's Holyrood elections.

The Scotsman has learned that some senior activists have become incensed with what they regard as the failure of their MSPs to make any real impression in the Scottish Parliament.

They believe that the MSPs are more concerned with protecting their jobs than standing up for Conservative values and want a complete clear-out, paving the way for new, enthusiastic, candidates in their place.

In an unprecedented move, party members have been asked to show their disapproval of current MSPs by ranking them last on the party's regional lists for next year's election - giving them little chance of re-election.

Although limited to a small number of senior activists at the moment, the campaign represents a humiliating snub to the efforts of Annabel Goldie, the Scottish Tory leader, and her MSPs.

It is also a significant and damaging blow to the party, revealing deep divisions and dissatisfaction within the Scottish party just eight months from the Scottish elections.
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