PLANS to revive the Scottish Tories with new elected organisers have fallen flat, with half the positions being filled without a contest, it has emerged.
The introduction of elected organisers was a key recommendation of the 2010 review of the party by the Tory peer Lord Sanderson of Bowden.
He identified “significant weaknesses” in the party’s governance and decision-making, and a lack of clarity and accountability at the top.
As well as backing a new election system for the party leader, Sanderson also recommended there should be an elected conference convener - the party’s most senior voluntary party worker in Scotland - and three elected regional conveners.
However two of the four posts, including the key role of conference convener, have been filled in recent days without a contest because only one person applied for the job.
|Ruth Davidson with Pat McPhee, right|
The conference convener, who was supposed to have been elected last weekend, was by default Pat McPhee, the Provost of North Ayrshire.
McPhee was Ruth Davidson’s election agent in the party’s leadership contest last year.
McPhee’s unopposed elevation is awkward for the party hierarchy, who had clearly been expecting a vote to demonstrate the party’s renewed vigour.
In his message to delegates in the conference programme, Scotland Office minister David Mundell even wrote: “Here in Troon, we will elect the Conference Convener who will complete the make-up of the New Management Board.”
Carolyn Riddell-Carre, the regional convener for the East of Scotland, was also elected unopposed.
A Borders councillor, Mrs Riddell-Carre is known for her uncompromising religious views, including likening MSP Margo MacDonald’s bill for legalising assisted suicide to Nazi-era eugenics.
“This is the thin end of a very nasty, some would say Nazi, wedge and, in this case, assisted suicide is a deceitful name for a killer’s bill,” she said in 2009. “We cannot go down the path of killing people in a Christian country.”
The two other regional convener posts attracted only five applicants between them, with Richard Wilkinson winning a two-man race to secure the post in the West of Scotland, and Stewart Whyte, another Davidson supporter, beating two others for the role of North of Scotland convener.
The four conveners will now sit alongside Davidson on the Scottish Tories’ manangement board, which is responsible for all the party’s business.