Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said she has “plenty to aim at” when she returns to work this week, amid a reignited independence debate and Brexit stalemate.
Ms Davidson, who has been on maternity leave since giving birth to son Finn in October, said she believes Scots are seeking unity and pledged to address domestic issues including health, education and police.
The Scottish Conservative MSP will return to work on Thursday ahead of her party’s weekend conference in Aberdeen. Her deputy Jackson Carlaw has been leading the party in her absence.
She told the Mail on Sunday: “Having been out of the fray for six months, my overwhelming feeling from everyone I’ve been speaking to is they want people to come back together.
“They’re done with the fighting, they don’t want the division. There’s a lot of currency for a First Minister who could be a unifying figure. Nicola Sturgeon banging on about independence is not it.”
Ms Sturgeon last week told MSPs there should be a second independence referendum before the next Holyrood election in May 2021.
Ms Davidson said in the interview: “People can see schools are struggling, they can see the strains the NHS is under, they can see some of the issues going on with the police force.
“One of the reasons she (Nicola Sturgeon) is hitting the independence drum so hard is she doesn’t have a domestic record worth talking about. It’s as simple as that.
“There’s a job for me to do when I do come back on Thursday. There is plenty to aim at.”
On Brexit, Ms Davidson said there “needs to be coalescence around a position from everybody – Remainers, Leavers, No Dealers, and Norway Plusers”.
Addressing motherhood, Ms Davidson, mother to Finn with fiancee Jen Wilson, admits she has been “bone-crushingly sleep deprived” and said she dreads leaving her son to return to work.
SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “Ruth Davidson’s Tories are now the fourth party in Scottish politics with only a 10% share of the vote.
“The Tories are absolutely desperate to try to detract from the Brexit chaos they have created.
“After over a decade of Westminster cuts, this SNP Government is working harder than ever to protect the most vulnerable in our society and deliver the best pubic services in the UK.
“It’s clear Tories are rattled by the the growing momentum that continues to build behind the case for Scottish independence.”