Ruth Davidson said the SNP’s pursuit of independence has been “utterly shredded” by the loss of their majority as she promised an offensive on the party’s “bad laws”.
The Scottish Conservatives leader revealed she would use her new found status as leader of the opposition to lead a charge against botched Nationalist legislation such as the Named Persons policy and the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.
Her party achieved the remarkable feat yesterday of doubling their Holyrood seat count to leapfrog Labour as the official opposition.
Ms Davidson said the lack of a firm manifesto commitment on independence and the failure to win a majority is a “double whammy” for the Nationalists.
“The First Minister no longer can pretend that she can wake up one morning and see an opinion poll she likes and call a snap referendum,” she told journalists at the Apex Hotel in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. “I never believed that at the time but she has certainly had the legs cut away from under her in trying to pretend that that’s the case now.”
She urged Nicola Sturgeon to rule out another referendum, adding the SNP have “no mandate, no majority, no cause” to pursue a constitutional rerun. “As I said during the election campaign, the SNP manifesto does not give Nicola Sturgeon a mandate for a second independence referendum,” Ms Davidson said.
“Now that she has failed to win a majority, whatever claims the SNP were pursuing with regard to constitutional brinksmanship over the next five years have now been utterly shredded.”
In her first set-piece appearance as the opposition leader, Ms Davidson said the end of the SNP majority is “good for our democracy”.
“I think one of the reasons that it is important that we don’t have majority government is we have seen in the last five years that majority government in Scotland in that instance has passed bad laws,” she said.
The Conservatives would force change on the Named Persons law, which assigns a health worker or teacher to every child in Scotland, Ms Davidson said.
She also laid into the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, an attempt to clamp down on sectarianism in the sport, and said she hopes to rally other parties to push for reforms to Holyrood’s maligned committee system.
Ms Davidson, who grew up in Fife, defied the odds to win Edinburgh Central as her party achieved their best result in Holyrood by winning 31 seats, up from 15.
Prime Minister David Cameron earlier congratulated her on the “historic result”, saying she would “stand up to the SNP and give Scotland strong opposition”. Among the party’s major gains was deputy leader Jackson Carlaw taking the Eastwood constituency on the outskirts of Glasgow from Labour’s Ken Macintosh and Ms Davidson’s triumph in the Capital.
A Tory political dynasty also emerged with Oliver Mundell, the son of the Scottish Secretary, taking the Dumfriesshire constituency from Labour. Mr Mundell Jr is among the three-quarters of the Tory intake without any parliamentary experience.
Asked whether the Labour’s downward spiral is terminal, Ms Davidson said: “I believe in politics the wheel always turns. I think that means you can get past peak at, just as you can get past the Labour trough. So I don’t believe anything in Scotland is permanent.
“If I did I may have believed people when I stood in the Apex Hotel in Grassmarket four-and-a-half years ago and they told me becoming leader of the Scottish Conservatives would be akin to resuscitating a corpse – some resuscitation and some corpse.”