Davidson, a Glasgow list MSP, has told supporters specific sums will cover the cost of producing leaflets, mailing personalised letters, and canvassing thousands of party members by phone.
Her website states: “Every donation, no matter whether small or large, can make a real difference to Ruth’s campaign to become leader.
“Any money you give will make a real difference:
- £30 The cost of producing 1000 campaign leaflets;
- £50 This will enable us to send out 200 personalised letters;
- £365 The cost of telephone canvassing 2000 people.”
But her team was last night unable to guarantee that donations to Davidson would actually deliver the services described on her website.
Her campaign manager admitted the figures and text had been cut-and-pasted from the UK Conservative Party website, and refused to say if Davidson actually had the addresses and phone numbers needed to make good on her pitch.
John Lamont MSP told the Sunday Herald: “We are relying on our supporters and activists to supply us with email addresses and names and addresses of people who might want to hear from Ruth.
“The figures on the website are notional sums for how much it costs, which are entirely standard and have been lifted from the...are consistent with what the Conservative Party site says.”
Pressed on whether Davidson’s campaign possessed the contact details needed to mail 1000 leafets or phone canvass 2000 of the party’s activists – almost a quarter of its 8500 members – Lamont repeatedly refused to say if it had.
He denied Davidson’s campaign was raising money on a false prospectus. “It’s entirely consistent with how the party and other organisations have raised money in the past, and, you know, doesn’t break any rules. There’s nothing to apologise for. It’s consistent with the Electoral Commission rules.”
Davidson, 32, who has only been an MSP since May, is already facing questions about her judgment and relative inexperience. On Friday, it emerged her campaign team is being investigated by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after sending material to party members’ private email addresses.
A Tory councillor who received unsolicited updates from Davidson has asked the ICO to investigate how she got his private address.
Earlier this month, Davidson was forced to sack her parliamentary assistant, Ross McFarlane, after this newspaper uncovered mobile phone footage of him setting fire to an EU flag in a Glasgow street while dressed in a dinner jacket.
Davidson, a former BBC reporter, is the choice of the Tory establishment. She is backed by a number of party grandees, including Thatcher-era ministers Lord Sanderson and Lord Forsyth and donor Sir Jack Harvie, and is understood to have the support of David Cameron and the current leader, Annabel Goldie.
However, an online poll of activists this weekened showed her trailing her main rival Murdo Fraser, who is backed by most Tory MSPs and a third of Tory councillors north of the Border.
Fraser is campaigning to abolish the “toxic” Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and start afresh with a new centre-right party.
Speaking at a leadership hustings in Inverness yesterday, Davidson attacked Fraser’s big idea, saying if she won she did not want her first meeting with the Prime Minister to be about “suing for divorce”.