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banner Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
McLetchie points to Tory recovery
Bournemouth conference
The Scottish party is seeking an election reversal
Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie has set out his battle plan for the general election.

Mr McLetchie is outlined his route to reversing the Scottish Tories' fortunes at Westminster when he addressed a business breakfast at the UK party's annual conference in Bournemouth.

The Tories lost all their seats north of the border at the general election in 1997.

David McLetchie
David McLetchie: Sights on Labour
However, they were buoyed by their performance in last year's Scottish parliamentary election when the party secured 18 seats.

That tally rose to 19 in March of this year when candidate John Scott snatched the Ayr seat from Labour.

Mr McLetchie hopes that the Scottish Tories can emulate the success of their Edinburgh parliamentary campaign.

He said the party was on the threshold of a Westminster recovery.

Last week, Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid infuriated the Scottish National Party when he told Labour conference delegates that the Tories and not the SNP pose the greatest threat to his party at the general election.

Despite the SNP holding Westminster seats and being the second largest party in Edinburgh, Dr Reid said they were not in a position to form a UK government.

Exams fiasco

Mr McLetchie responded by saying the SNP was an irrelevance and that the Tories were a party that could win.

SNP deputy leader Roseanna Cunningham hit back at Mr McLetchie and pointed to a poll earlier this week which suggested the nationalists were neck and neck with Labour in Westminster voting intentions.

"Poor David McLetchie is obviously suffering from the same delusions as the redundant Labour Scottish Secretary, John Reid," she said.

"The bizarre claims of David McLetchie and John Reid show that London Labour and the anti-Scottish Tories are equally out of touch with what is happening in Scotland."

Mr McLetchie attacked First Minister Donald Dewar and the Scottish Executive over the exams fiasco and over the problems with the new parliament building.

Malcolm Rifkind, the president of the party, also addressed the meeting.

Later in the day, former Scottish secretary Lord Forsyth will address a fringe event and voice his support for more private sector involvement in the health service.

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See also:

02 Oct 00 | Conservative Conference
Voting dilemma plan backed
07 May 00 | Scotland
'Tories must appeal to moderates'
17 Mar 00 | Scotland
Tories walking on Ayr
30 Sep 00 | Scotland
Dewar dismisses split threat
22 Sep 00 | SNP
Salmond: 'Breakaway is nigh'
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