Jackson Carlaw is the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives after an emphatic three-to-one victory over Michelle Ballantyne.

Mr Carlaw, who had been interim leader since the resignation of Ruth Davidson last August, won with 75.7 per cent of the vote.

Ms Davidson said the Eastwood MSP was "by far the most experienced person ever to have undertaken this role", and said he had her "absolute and unwavering support".

After a frequently fractious contest, Mr Carlaw said the Tories would now move forward as “one united party”.

READ MORE: Voting closes in Scottish Conservative leadership contest

He said the party’s members had backed a “decent, generous spirited aspirational Conservatism” and he wanted to reach out to new voters for the 2021 election.

He said: "I will ensure we continue to stand foursquare behind’s Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom and against an independence referendum that would divide our country all over again.

“Under my leadership the Scottish Conservatives will remain anchored on that sensible, solid middle-ground where most Scots are and where elections are won and lost."

He said there would be a “new, reinvigorated team” at Holyrood announced next week.

He added: “There will be no complacency, none at all. I want to see our party change further and for the better.

"New faces, new thinking, new ideas, and a renewed drive and determination.

"That will involve change - new appointments later today, and in the coming days both political and professional, and in the presentation of a new and reinvigorated team at Holyrood next week.

"I don't believe the people of Scotland want a phoney revolution or earthquake. 

"What they do want is a party they can trust to stand up for them."

He said Glasgow MSP Annie Wells will become a joint deputy leader of the party alongside North East MSP Liam Kerr, who’s been in the role since September.

Rachael Hamilton, the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, is to become a party chairwoman, alongside existing chairman Rab Forman, who has been reappointed to the role.

Mr Carlaw said some current Tory policies would be dropped in a forthcoming review, hinting they could include support for tuition fees and the two-child benefit cap which gives rise to the 'rape clause'.

He said: "We will embark on a comprehensive review  of our existing policy, and I have set the tests by which each policy will be judged.

"I believe it will lead to us leaving behind some of our existing policies, some perhaps even controversially so. So be it.

"That process begins today. I am for rewarding hard work and industry so I want a tax system that is fair. Those at the top should pay their fair share. Those at the bottom shouldn’t pay at all.

"And those in the middle should not be unfairly squeezed as they are now.

"I believe that the best route out of poverty is a job but I want a Scotland where we work to live, not live to work. So I’m not just for more employment, but also for fairer employment."

He also attacked the SNP, saying it was out of ideas and out of time.

Likening it to John Major's disastrous government of 1992 to 1997, he said the current Scottish Government was "morally bankrupt" and he aimed to replace it with a Tory one next year.

He said his goal would be for his party to become the largest party at Holyrood, which could put it in a position to form a minority administration.

He said: "Slipping standards in maths and science in our schools. Students facing limits in the number of subjects they can study. Violent crime on the rise. Scotland’s two biggest health boards placed in special measures. An underperforming economy. The list goes on.

"This is the record of a failing government. One which may have started with energy and promise, but which is now out of ideas, out of drive, out of excuses and increasingly out of time. Morally and politically bankrupt.

"Scotland deserves better than this. Scotland deserves that better alternative to the SNP.

"This is no longer about asking the SNP to concentrate on the day job, this is now about changing the Government charged with the responsibility for the day job.

"And that responsibility falls to us. I’m ready to shoulder that responsibility.

"In all of this I look forward to working constructively with the UK Government, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Alister Jack and Douglas Ross in the Scotland Office, and all our friends at Westminster across the UK. Working together.

"Not against one another to make Scotland an entrepreneurial, dynamic, successful, fair country in a successful union."

Returning officer Leonard Wallace, the party’s honorary secretary, said the total number of members was 10,911. Turnout was 59.7%.

READ MORE: Interim Tory leader Jackson Carlaw blasts Queensferry Crossing design - despite helping to choose it

After 13 rejected ballots, the number of votes for Mr Carlaw was 4,917, the number for Ms Ballantyne 1,581.

Ms Davidson congratulated the winner in being elected "to what I have always considered to be the best job in Scottish politics  - leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party". 

She said: “[Mr Carlaw's] time as both deputy leader and interim leader mean he is by far the most experienced person ever to have undertaken this role and I know he will have the whole party behind him as he leads us into next year's Holyrood elections.

“Jackson is his own man and has firm ideas on how the party needs to change in order to build on recent successes. This is as it should be.

“Any party which refuses to adapt and change will very quickly be left behind.

“Jackson will have my absolute and unwavering support in the decisions he takes in order to get us fighting fit for next May. 

“I would also like to congratulate Michelle Ballantyne on running a thoroughly impressive campaign, conducted in the right manner.

“We have strength and depth in our Holyrood team and all MSPs are keen to get cracking to take our positive message to the people of Scotland ahead of next year's election.”

Ms Ballantyne thanked her team, adding: "It has been a good campaign. 

"I said at the beginning that we needed to have a mandated leader. We now have a party behind a mandated leader."

"I think we can now move forward unitedly without there being any challenge to whether or not we have chosen our leader and chosen them decisively.

“I think there has been a good debate. I think we’ve had some very clear messages from our members of what they want to see and I think Jackson has encapsulated that in his words today.

"So I look forward to us going to 2021 to show the SNP that there is an alternative and to make sure that the voters know there is a better future for Scotland with a Conservative government.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: "Congratulations to Jackson Carlaw on winning the Scottish Tory leadership race. 

“Of course, with Jackson having run the party through their General Election collapse, this is a case of ‘meet the new boss – same as the old boss’.

“The big test for Mr Carlaw will be whether he will stand up for Scotland’s interests against Boris Johnson. 

“He used to say that Boris Johnson wasn’t fit to be Prime Minister. He was right – but then he campaigned for precisely that."

“Just as they went from Remainers to hard Brexiteers, it’s obvious that the Scottish Tories will continue to parrot whatever line they’re handed down from Westminster.”