A GROUP of Scottish Tory MSPs is using their party’s conference to launch a new “think tank of sorts”.

Named the Buchan Policy Network, the new forum aims to conduct research, publish pamphlets, and hold events, according to a flyer promoting its launch.

While not officially affiliated with the Scottish Tory party, Conservative members and MSPs make up a bulk of its members, and Douglas Ross is a patron.

Stephen Kerr, the Tory MSP and education spokesperson, is to chair the launch event which will be held alongside the party’s conference at Glasgow’s SEC.

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He will be joined by other Conservative politicians including MSPs Murdo Fraser, Liz Smith, and Graham Simpson.

Asked about the Buchan Policy Network, Kerr told The National: “It’s a form of a think tank. It’s a meeting place for Conservatives to discuss ideas [and] policy ideas. It’s all about exchanging views and exchanging policy.”

He went on: “Everybody in Scotland deserves something better than an ongoing sterile debate about the constitution, and that’s what this is about. It’s another forum, another place where we can talk about ideas that will improve people’s lives.

“It’s a brand new idea. We’ve been talking about this for a long time, my parliamentary colleagues and I, and we’re bringing it into the light at this conference.

“It’s the right time because the Conservative Party in Scotland is now emerging with policies and ideas, as you’ve heard this morning and you’ll hear more about it in the conference hall.”

Named after the Scottish novelist and former governor general of Canada John Buchan, the policy network has a fledgling Twitter account and a website.

The latter states: “The Buchan Policy Network is not yet constituted. The coordinator is Neil Benny.

“The steering group consists of Stephen Kerr, Murdo Fraser, Graham Simpson, Jamie Greene, Liam Kerr, Roz McCall, Donald Cameron, Liz Smith and Jeremy Balfour.”