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Davidson announces panel to look at more devolution powers

SCOTS Tory leader Ruth Davidson has completed her transition from "line in the sand" opponent of any extra powers for Holyrood to saying "nothing is off the table" in terms of further devolution.

OPEN MINDED: Ruth Davidson has launched a new policy working group. Picture: Gordon Terris
OPEN MINDED: Ruth Davidson has launched a new policy working group. Picture: Gordon Terris

Her Holyrood party group was said to be "overwhelmingly in favour" of the stance, implying MSPs are not unanimous in backing her.

The evidence of a couple of dozen activists attending her speech was they were more likely to show signs of life at comments defending the Union than for the bulk of a speech predicated on extending devolution.

Having defeated Murdo Fraser and his idea of a new party to replace the dying Tory brand in a leadership contest, Ms Davidson is now occupying his pro-devolution territory.

She announced a policy panel that includes former leader Annabel Goldie, and former presiding officer Alex Fergusson, and is led by a former LibDem MSP.

There were about 50 present at the event in Edinburgh, the third in Ms Davidson's spring series of speech designed to reposition the Tories.

She said: "I believe we found ourselves on the wrong side of history in 1997.

"We fought on against the idea of a Scottish Parliament long after it became clear it was the will of the Scottish people.

"The Scottish Conservatives have listened to the people of Scotland. We have heard their ambition for a devolved parliament within the United Kingdom, with greater powers than it currently holds."

As well as Mr Ferguson and Ms Goldie, the working group includes former Minister Lord Strathclyde, and two outside advisers. They are Alan Trench, an honorary fellow in the School of Social and Political Science at Edinburgh University, and Professor Adam Tomkins, John Millar Chair in Public Law at the University of Glasgow's Law School.

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