Wednesday, 31 March 2010





The MP for Perth and North Perthshire, Pete Wishart, has today [Wednesday] seized on divisions within the Perthshire Conservatives after the dramatic entry of the former Conservative candidate, Douglas Taylor, into the race for the seat.

In addition, Perth SNP has been leaked a letter penned by Mr Taylor, written to a number of Conservative activists, which outlines his many grave concerns about the state of the current Tory party and its failure on key issues. He expressed concern at the fact that those allowed to be candidates for target Scottish seats were determined by a central committee that was made up exclusively of people from south of the border who did not have experience of Scottish politics. He stated that this adversely affected almost all of the experienced Scottish candidates.

Speaking today, Mr Wishart said:

“Douglas Taylor’s entry into the race to become Perth and North Perthshire’s next MP is a fatal blow to the Conservative campaign in Perth and North Perthshire.

“Conservative voters in Perthshire now have a choice between two Tory candidates at the next election. They can support Mr Taylor’s experienced and more traditional view of Conservatism or they can back the vacuous and hollow Cameron agenda of the official Conservative candidate.

“Mr Taylor's devastating critique of the Conservative Party is hugely damaging for the local Conservative campaign and painfully embarrassing for the party nationally. Instead of campaigning on the local issues that matter to people in Perthshire, the Tories appear to be embroiled in bitter infighting and score settling.

“This letter also lifts the lid on the grassroots dissatisfaction with David Cameron’s leadership. The Conservatives are totally divided.

“Douglas was an experienced opponent who had clear views and attitudes that were closely aligned with the traditional views of the Conservative Party. The fact that his experience was rejected by the Conservative Party raises some important questions about the current state of the Tories.

“In his letter Douglas reveals the true extent of the divisions and alienation in much of the Perthshire Conservative party and gives a concise and articulate account of the failures of Cameron’s Conservatives locally, in Scotland and across the UK.

“To come from a former key figure in the Perthshire Conservatives can not be construed as anything other than a hammer blow to their campaign.”

Mr Taylor sets out his views in a clear letter to fellow Conservatives leaked to the SNP. On the selection process Mr Taylor says:

“The candidate selection process in Scotland and the UK as a whole has been biased against experienced candidates”

“The loss of integrity in some of the internal procedures makes it very difficult for honest candidates to proceed on merit”

On the economy:

“The Conservative Party has lost a basic understanding of its own intellectual roots mean it is ill equipped to deal with the economic troubles ahead”

“I don’t think that a Conservative or Labour government will make much difference either way.”

Douglas Taylor then concludes:

“However, I am very clear in my own mind that the Conservative Party does not represent my ideals any longer…..if I was new to politics now I would not join the Conservative Party.”

Commenting on the devastating impact of this letter on the local Tory election campaign, Mr Wishart said:

“Local voters will soon have the opportunity to turn their backs on Tory infighting and support a real, local and experienced SNP champion who will always put the people of Perth and North Perthshire first to ensure that a strong voice is heard at Westminster.”

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