The leader of the Scottish Conservative party resigned today amid rising support for Scottish Independence.
The Tory MSP, who was elected as leader in September admitted that he reached the “painful conclusion that he was not the best person to lead the party going into next year’s Holyrood elections”.
In a statement issued to Express.co.uk today, Mr Carlaw said: “Over the summer I have had the chance to think hard about my role as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
“Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.
“I believe the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the most important voice in Scotland for setting out that positive argument. I am clear that nothing must get in the way of doing so.
“In the last few weeks, I have reached a simple if painful conclusion that I am not, in the present circumstances, the person best placed to lead that case over these next vital months in Scottish politics prior to the Holyrood elections.
He continued: “Given the importance I attach to the job, I’ve therefore decided to stand down with immediate effect.
“It is not an easy call but I have spent a lifetime in politics holding to the maxim that party and country comes first.
Jackson Carlaw stepped down this afternoon
“I leave the job with genuine pride at my time in office, both as interim leader and as leader for the last year.
“I especially enjoyed the eight years as deputy leader and being an integral part of the success achieved.
“Managing the transition from Ruth Davidson’s leadership to a refreshed party has been a challenging task but I feel confident that I leave the role with the party in good heart and, crucially, with time to elect a new leader so he or she can prepare for the elections next year.
“The Scottish Conservatives will fight those elections as we have always done – as the one party that will unequivocally speak up for all those Scots who do not want to go back to more division, but instead want our country to move on, as part of the United Kingdom, able to rise to the challenges of the future.
Nicola Sturgeon wished him well
“I will fight that cause hard for these next few vital months as a loyal member of my party.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Mr Carlaw has been a “tremendous servant to the Scottish Conservative Party for more than four decades”.
Fellow Scottish politicians wished him well but making clear that leadership can be a stressful challenge.
In a statement today, SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s Energy Minister, said: “I wish Jackson Carlaw no ill. I will not “put the boot in” when a guy is down.
Jackson Carlaw led the Scottish Tories from August 2019
“No doubt it’ll be a personal blow to him, but I think the reality is this: Tories are like Canute trying to hold back the Indy tide.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: “I wish Jackson Carlaw all the best.
“We’ve crossed swords politically on many occasions, but worked constructively on some issues too – he has, eg, been a strong voice for women suffering mesh complications.
“Leadership is a tough business and I’m sure his decision wasn’t easy.”
Inverness SNP MP Drew Hendry, said: “So that’s it for Jackson Carlaw? Self evidently, it’s an increasingly hard, hard, tough old job to make the case for Scotland remaining part of this UK.”
The departure leaves the Scottish Tories without a leader for the second time in a year.
It comes after Ruth Davidson quit the position suddenly in August 2019, citing both “professional and personal” reasons for the move, after being elected in 2011.
The hunt to find her successor was delayed by December’s general election, with Mr Carlaw, who had been her deputy, serving as interim leader before being elected into the job in February.