Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Goldie 'ready to wield handbag'

Annabel Goldie
Annabel Goldie called for more discipline within the party

Annabel Goldie has warned she will not tolerate "disloyalty and disobedience" after being named as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

She was the only nominee to replace David McLetchie in the role.

The new leader warned the party's MSPs that they had to unite or face electoral disaster.

She told them that she would not hesitate to wield her "matron's handbag" in an attempt to bring the party into line.

Ms Goldie has taken over the leadership at a time of instability for the Conservatives.

The wheels are back on the wagon - and I'm the nag hitched up to tow it
Annabel Goldie

The resignation of Mr McLetchie was followed by the admission by MSP Brian Monteith that he had briefed against the former leader.

Mr Monteith left the Tories' Holyrood group on Friday after being accused of disloyalty.

He announced his resignation from the Scottish Conservative Party several hours after Ms Goldie was elected as leader on Tuesday.

Ms Goldie stood for the leadership on a joint ticket with Murdo Fraser, who will take over her old position of deputy.

She was confirmed as leader on Tuesday afternoon and will address the 17 Tory MSPs at Holyrood later.

"I think you may take it matron's handbag will be in hyper-action," she said after the appointment was confirmed.

"What I'm going to make crystal clear is that I'm not prepared to tolerate the kind of nonsense that has gone on."

'Two options'

The term handbagging was coined to describe the verbal attacks or criticism dispensed by Margaret Thatcher in her political heyday.

Asked if she would be seen as a Scottish version of the former Conservative prime minister, Ms Goldie said: "There could be worse precedents to follow.

"But I like to think of myself as just me and I have been at pains to make that clear - I'm just me.

Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher was known for her handbaggings

"There may at times be echoes of a former presence in Scotland, but I don't think you will find that presence is re-enacted in every way in Scotland."

Ms Goldie warned her colleagues that the party faced oblivion if their indiscipline continued.

"I shall be telling my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament that they have two very simple options," said Ms Goldie.

"They can either buckle to, get on with some hard work and unite with the party as a whole to secure more seats for the Scottish Tories in 2007, or we can face electoral disaster."

Speaking at a media conference in Edinburgh, the list MSP admitted it had been a difficult time for the party.

Apache raids

But she said: "The wheels are back on the wagon - and I'm the nag hitched up to tow it.

"There will of course be Apache raids, but at least they will no longer be starting from within the wagon.

"I have every confidence in Mr Fraser riding shotgun to deal with them."

She said the party's goal should be to overtake the Scottish National Party as the largest opposition party at Holyrood in the 2007 election.

video and audio news
Watch Annabel Goldie accept the job as Tory leader

Monteith leaves Scottish Tories
08 Nov 05 |  Scotland
MSP 'takes blame' for disloyalty
05 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Goldie cool on Tory power-share
04 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Top Tories make deal over leader
02 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Tories embark on leadership hunt
01 Nov 05 |  Scotland
McLetchie resigns as Tory leader
31 Oct 05 |  Scotland


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