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ref date:21 Jul 1997 (SI)
Tories 'must push for independence

The former Conservative minister Allan Stewart embarrassed the Tory failthful by urging the Tories to push for Scottish independence if devolution happens.

Mr Stewart said the Tories could undergo a revival in Scotland if they argued for independence.

He accused William Hague, the Conservative leader, of putting the party in an illogical position.

Mr Stewart, told Scottish Television's Conference Report programme: "I remain a committed unionist, but if Scotland wants and is going to get its own parliament it would be better for Scotland and better for the Conservatives - Conservatives would flourish in an independent nation state rather than in the confused halfway house that's currently proposed by the Labour government.
"In that scenario, Conservatives would be on the front foot and that could allow us to re-emerge as the patriotic party of Scotland."

The Tory party leader however, urged all his supporters to vote no,no (no devolved parliament, no varying tax powers) at their annual conference in Perth (SNP stronghold thesedays!)