A SCOTS Tory has quit The Conservative Party for Nigel Farage’s new Reform Party that aims to take on Lockdown, the BBC and the unelected House of Lords.
Following promises of a prominent announcement on social media, it was revealed during a live broadcast by Reform UK that former Scottish Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne was to defect to the party, as part of the group’s plans to expand in Scotland for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.
The announcement initially came as part of a broadcast that the party did on social media, whereby they promised a special announcement was coming. During the broadcast, the party’s Chairman Richard Tice – himself a former MEP and one of the so-called ‘Bad Boys Of Brexit – introduced Ballantyne, noting that she was a ‘strong leader’ and that she ‘understands Scottish politics’.
Ballantyne noted that she was ‘delighted’ to be their new leader in Scotland.
She also highlighted that while starting a new political party in Scotland was a ‘monumental task’, that she was pushed in to such a role because of the COVID crisis, calling it the ‘worst virus’ most of the viewers had ever known, citing problems with unemployment and health caused by lockdown policies, which the party oppose.
The MSP also condemned the Conservative Party and the Scottish National Party; the former she claimed were spending without finding a way to pay for it, and the latter were using the ‘misery’ of COVID to force a ‘constitutional vote’, referring to the promises made by the SNP to have a second independence referendum as part of their platform in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections. She concluded by promising to offer voters ‘something a little bit different’, and that will in her words ‘make Scotland a much, much better place’.
Ballantyne has been an MSP for South Scotland since 2017, when she was invited to replace her predecessor Rachael Hamilton, of who had gone on to contest win the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire by-election that same year. Ballantyne took part in the 2020 leadership contest for the Scottish Conservatives, only to lose to Jackson Carlaw. She later resigned from the party in November 2020, citing policy and political differences. Until her joining Reform, she had sat as an independent.