Former Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne has been made leader of Reform UK Scotland, formerly the Brexit Party.
Ms Ballantyne, who represents the South of Scotland in the Scottish Parliament, announced today that she would campaign at this year’s Holyrood election on a pro-union platform as leader of Reform UK Scotland.
She also said that they would be advocating the easing of current lockdown restrictions in line with the Great Barrington Declaration. The party is aimed at bringing a new right-leaning alternative to the UK political landscape.
Ms Ballantyne had resigned the Scottish Conservatives whip last November over policy disagreements, and had been sitting as an independent MSP since then until today.
— Reform UK (@reformparty_uk) January 11, 2021
Richard Tice, Chairman of Reform UK, stated that she would be running a stand-alone party called Reform UK Scotland. Ms Ballantyne spoke out against SNP plans for a second referendum for Scottish independence. She revealed that her party will be “pro-Scotland and pro-the UK”, and believes that Scotland remaining in the UK is “the best choice for the people of these islands”, describing the UK as “the most successful union ever created”.
Ms Ballantyne has been a critic of the hardline approach to the lockdowns. Scotland is also currently in the grip of a second wave of coronavirus that has caused cases and hospital admissions to reach a record high. Ms Ballantyne stated that she believes “we should have protected the vulnerable and allowed much of the economy to go forward”.
She claimed that the lockdown “hasn’t worked” and believes the collateral damage done by lockdown measures is “far, far greater” than the virus itself.