Published On: Thu, Aug 29th, 2019

Ruth Davidson quits: Scottish Conservative leader steps down in blow to Boris Johnson | Politics | News


Ms Davidson, who had been in the post for eight years, is known to be strongly opposed to the UK leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in place on October 31. She backed Remain prior to the EU referendum in June 2016 and has also offered public support to opponents of Mr Johnson during the party’s leadership contest. The Sun had quoted a senior Conservative source as saying on Wednesday: “She’s tried to juggle motherhood with being the very high-profile leader of the opposition in Scotland, and it’s taken its toll.

“All of this has been made more difficult with the current political climate, where she’s found herself at increasing odds with the new leadership in London.”

Writing last month in the Scottish Mail on Sunday, Ms Davidson said: “When I was debating against the pro-Brexit side in 2016, I don’t remember anybody saying we should crash out of the EU with no arrangements in place to help maintain the vital trade that flows uninterrupted between Britain and the European Union.

“I don’t think the government should pursue a no-deal Brexit and, if it comes to it, I won’t support it.”

Her resignation will reignite speculation of another huge clash with Mr Johnson, who sparked fury in Westminster on Wednesday by announcing plans to suspend Parliament for more than a month when ministers return from their summer recess.

The controversial move is seen as the latest attempt to bypass MPs and force through a no deal Brexit on October 31, providing ministers with little time to change this course of action before the deadline.

This has left high-profile Remainers including opposition party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson furious, who have vowed to do everything possible to stop Britain crashing out of the bloc without an agreement in place.

But on Wednesday, as speculation grew over Ms Davidson’s future, a Scottish Conservatives spokesman denied her possible decision to resign was in response to these latest Brexit developments.

He said: “Ruth will make her position clear in due course. There will be no further comment tonight.

“This decision is not connected to today’s Brexit developments in any way.”

In May, Mr Johnson was discouraged from travelling to Scotland for the Scottish Conservative Conference, with members of the party in the country concerned he would take the limelight away from their leader on her return from maternity leave.

Speaking to Northbound 1 radio prior to Theresa May’s resignation as Prime Minister she was tight-lipped over her possible support for Mr Johnson taking over, but added in the previous leadership contest he “didn’t get across the start line”.

Ms Davidson added: “We’ll see what the field is and then I will make my decision.”

The Scottish Conservative leader also clashed with the Prime Minister when she campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum – going head-to-head with the pro-Leave former London Mayor in a televised debate.

Ms Davidson became a mother last year when she and her partner Jen Wilson welcomed son Finn in October 2018 after the Scottish Conservatives leader underwent IVF treatment.



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