THE Scottish Conservatives have been plunged into an internal feud after Ruth Davidson blocked a former Tory MP from running for Holyrood, according to reports in the Press and Journal.

Colin Clark, who was the Westminster representative for Gordon from 2017 to 2019 having won the seat from Alex Salmond, had applied to run for a place in the Scottish Parliament in May.

However, his application was rejected by Davidson’s candidate committee.

The committee said Clark had “a poor record working with others”. One source told the Press and Journal: “In just two years, [Clark] managed to fall out with most of the party.”

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The former MP said he was “absolutely stunned” to have been turned down, as he had been encouraged to put his name forward by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, among other high-ranking colleagues.

Clark said the committee’s decision seemed “very personal and very political”, and suggested it may have been because of his support for both Brexit and Boris Johnson.

He went on: “Douglas Ross, when he became leader, suggested I stand for Holyrood. Douglas has a difficult job to do and this argument is simply not necessary.

“Unionists should not be disunited going into the election. Disagreements about Boris Johnson and Brexit should be in the past.”

The committee also reportedly cited a “lack of campaigning” on Clark’s part as a reason for his rejection.

The Tory, who formerly served as a parliamentary under-secretary for Scotland, said the claim was “inaccurate”.

The National: Colin Clark suggested his support of Boris Johnson's Brexit was a factor in his rejectionColin Clark suggested his support of Boris Johnson's Brexit was a factor in his rejection

He said: “Having been a minister in Boris Johnson’s Government, a senior whip, fought in six elections in four years, worked tirelessly to promote Gordon and increased the Conservative vote in 2019, I believed I had earned my party’s support.

“I had hoped to serve the north east at Holyrood but a committee of four deemed I was not suitable and without recourse.”

However, a Scottish Tory source told the Press and Journal that Clark had only boosted the party vote in Gordon due to the success of Davidson at Holyrood.

They said: “Colin was elected on the back of Ruth Davidson’s impact and the Scottish Conservatives' clear message to stop another divisive referendum.

“As most people would acknowledge, Colin was not a good campaigner. In just two years, he managed to fall out with most of the party.

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“Ruth was tasked with creating a Scottish Conservative team ready to take the fight to the nationalists and stop their push for indyref2 this year.”

The committee was announced in December of last year. It was tasked with agreeing those to be ranked on the Holyrood lists and "give special endorsement to especially qualified candidates".

Speaking then, Davidson said: "Irrespective of age, job, gender or ethnicity, we want talented people prepared to work hard in the service of their local community and I am determined to ensure that the team under Douglas Ross after May is the strongest Conservative team ever elected to Holyrood."

That team will not include Davidson, as she will be stepping down from her role as an MSP in order to join the House of Lords. 

A Scottish Tory spokesperson said they would not comment on internal party selection processes.