THE Scottish Tories have appointed a deputy leader and a new party chairman following their election losses last week.

Douglas Ross announced the changes today following “very disappointing” results in Thursday’s poll in a bid to strengthen his top team.

MSP Meghan Gallacher, 30, becomes deputy leader - a position that was scrapped when Mr Ross became party leader in 2020 - while Holyrood colleague Craig Hoy has been appointed chairman.

Rob Forman is stepping down as chairman after seven years in the role.

Mr Ross offered his “sincere thanks” to the outgoing chairman, adding he has “presided over the renaissance of the Scottish Conservative Party”.

He welcomed the new appointees both of whom became MSPs for the first time in last year’s Holyrood election.

“In a short space of time, Craig has proven to be incredibly hard working,” Mr Ross said.

“He will bring an unmatched drive and energy to the role.

“Meghan has a bright future in our party. She is an outstanding local representative for her constituents and I am sure she will prove to be just as effective in this new position.”

The Tory leader continued: “Rab was our chairman for excellent Scottish Parliament results in 2016 and 2021, as well as our most successful General Elections and local elections.

"He has made a significant contribution to that success. He leaves the job of party chairman with the best wishes and gratitude of everyone in our party.”

Mr Forman said it was the “right time” to step down, wishing his replacement “every success”.

Hoy commented: “I’m thrilled to accept this position. There’s a big challenge facing our party but, under Douglas Ross’ leadership and with the team of MSPs we have, I’m convinced we can move forward to even greater heights than he delivered last year. 

“All of our focus now needs to be on how we build up the party’s operations so that we can remove the SNP from power in the future.”

Ms Gallacher said: “I’m honoured to be asked to be deputy leader and I can’t wait to get started.

“We are determined to win back the trust of every Scottish Conservative voter who backed the party in last year’s election.”

The Scottish Tories lost 62 seats in the council elections last week, returning 214 councillors.

It suffered its worst result in Edinburgh for 50 years, while in Glasgow they dropped six councillors to just two. 

Ms Gallacher was first elected to Holyrood last year as a member for central Scotland.

She became a councillor in North Lanarkshire for the Motherwell West ward in 2017, serving as the party's group leader. She did not run for re-election last week.

Mr Ross scrapped the position of Scottish Conservative deputy leader when he took charge of the party. Under the previous leader Jackson Carlaw, MSPs Liam Kerr and Annie Wells both held the role as deputy.

Ms Gallacher was brought up in Holytown in North Lanarkshire and is a graduate of the University of the West of Scotland where she studied politics.

In January she called for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister after it emerged he had attended parties during lockdown in breach of Covid lawss. He was fined by the police last month.

Ms Gallacher is the Scottish Tories gender reform spokeswoman and has been outspoken about the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which aims to make it easier for people to obtain a gender recognition certificate.

She criticised Lorna Slater after the Scottish Greens co leader and junior minister spoke out against people who hold "anti-trans views".