SCOTTISH Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is to quit Glasgow and stand for election in Edinburgh in a move she said would allow her to run the party’s nationwide campaign from the Capital.
Ms Davidson was the only Conservative returned as a Glasgow list MSP at the Holyrood election in 2011 – just months before she was elected as the party leader.
She said that standing in Edinburgh would also give the party a better chance of using her profile as leader to boost its representation in the Lothians, where the Conservatives won two MSPs last time.
She will stand in Edinburgh Central as well as for a place on its regional list for the Lothians.
Confidence is high that she will attract enough votes to secure a third seat for the party in the region.
Ms Davidson, who was born in Edinburgh and attended university in the city, said: “For the elections next year, I will be putting my name forward to stand as a candidate in the Lothians region.
“I believe standing for election in Edinburgh will help us maximise our support so that, come May next year, we return the largest number of Scottish Conservatives to Holyrood ever.
“It has been an enormous privilege to serve as an MSP in Glasgow over the last four years.
“My role as an MSP in Glasgow has allowed me to help hundreds of constituents, visit scores of businesses, charities and schools, and play a large part in the civic life of the city.”
In a letter to party members in Glasgow, she said that contesting a seat in Edinburgh would allow her to direct the Scottish Conservative campaign, which will be run from its city HQ next year.
She said: “My duties in the Scottish Parliament, along with my wider responsibilities as leader of the Scottish Conservatives, have obliged me to spend an increasing amount of time in Edinburgh.
“Standing for election in the Lothians will enable me to maximise the time I can dedicate to those responsibilities, direct next year’s national campaign and return the largest number of Scottish Conservative MSPs to Holyrood.”
The party’s two sitting MSPs for the Lothians – Gavin Brown and Cameron Buchanan – are both standing down at the 2016 election.
Ms Davidson said she was confident the party would retain its only Holyoord seat in Glasgow where, like Edinburgh, the selection process has yet to formally open.
She added: “At May’s general election, the Scottish Conservatives fielded an impressive team of new and able candidates in Glasgow.
“We can be proud of the campaigns they fought and I am confident that whoever is selected to head our list of candidates for next year’s elections, they will be a strong Scottish Conservative and Unionist voice for Glasgow in the Scottish Parliament.
“They can be assured of my own wholehearted support.”