The Conservative leadership bandwagon made its only Scottish stop this week when the final two contenders, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, faced party members at a hustings event in Perth. Both men have pledged to protect the UK union after warnings from senior Tory politicians that it could be at risk.
The hustings in Perth was the latest in a series of (closed) events around the UK which see the two candidates make a speech to local members before taking questions from a host and the audience. Comments to journalists suggested that Jeremy Hunt came across as being more ‘in control’ – but that seems unlikely to stop a Boris sprint to the finish line.
Party members are now receiving their ballots, with the winner to be announced on 23 July. A YouGov survey of Conservative members in June suggested that a majority would prefer Brexit to go ahead even if it caused Scottish independence, while another opinion poll suggested that a majority of Scots could back independence if Mr Johnson became Prime Minister. By co-incidence, the campaign to succeed Sir Vince Cable as leader of the UK Lib Dems also concludes that week. Scottish MP Jo Swinson is the clear favourite in a two horse race with former Cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey.
The Scottish Affairs Committee has published the UK Government response to its report on the relationship between the UK and Scottish governments. The UK Government accepted the Committee’s recommendations on reviewing the role of the Scotland Office and said it will consider introducing third party involvement in dispute resolution proceedings.
The response was published ahead of an evidence session with David Mundell on Thursday (11 July). Chair Pete Wishart, said: “The Government response makes some welcome indications of support for updating intergovernmental structures, including a fairer dispute resolution process for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
Holyrood is in recess until 3 September but the Finance & Constitution Committee has launched a call for evidence on the estimated financial implications of the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill. The aim of the Bill is to establish the office of Scottish Biometrics Commissioner and provide guidelines for the acquisition, retention and destruction of biometric data. The deadline to respond is Friday 30 August.
All the parties have been using recess to focus on a relatively rare event, a Holyrood by-election, following Shetland Lib Dem MSP (and good friend to Perceptive) Tavish Scott’s resignation. Johan Adamson, a former community councillor and journalist at the Shetland Times, has been selected as the Labour candidate. Meanwhile, two other candidates have declared their candidacy. Ryan Thomson, a Shetland councillor, has announced he will run independently, with transport policy as his focus. Ian Scott has created his own party, ‘Fight Austerity, Save Our NHS, Save Our Welfare State’ and also intends to run for the seat. The SNP and Liberal Democrats will announce their candidates imminently. It has been one of the Lib Dems safest seats since 1999 and the party is expected to hold it.
And finally… Yesterday marked 30 days to go until P&J Live – the multi-million-pound new events venue in Aberdeen – opens to the public for the first time. A free, ticketed event called Preview @ P&J Live is being held on Saturday 10 August 2019 to showcase the new complex which is being delivered by one of our clients, Henry Boot Developments and Aberdeen City Council. Keep a close eye on our social media channels for new images and short videos which are being released over the next four weeks showing different parts of P&J Live and the two new on-site hotels.If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or email@example.com