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Ruth Davidson reveals her reasons for quitting as Scottish Tory leader

UK News | Published:

The Edinburgh Central MSP told ITV’s Lorraine she was ‘hopelessly conflicted over Brexit’ and disagrees with Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament.

Ruth Davidson said being “hopelessly conflicted over Brexit” was one of the reasons she resigned her leadership of the Scottish Tories.

She also criticised the way Boris Johnson has suspended Parliament, saying it looks like a politically motivated decision.

Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine for her first TV interview since stepping down in August, Ms Davidson said she was not told the reasoning behind the decision to prorogue Parliament.

Judges at the Supreme Court are hearing evidence about the move to close parliament for five weeks ahead of the Queen’s Speech and in the lead-up to the October 31 Brexit deadline.

A legal challenge argues the decision was made to limit MPs “frustrating or damaging” the Prime Minister’s plans to leave the EU.

Asked about the move, Ms Davidson said: “I think it was done in a bad way but the idea that a Prime Minister doesn’t suspend Parliament in order to bring forward a Queen’s Speech and a legislative agenda, up until recently that happened almost every year.

“I was quite close to David Cameron and Theresa May, I’m not close to Boris Johnson, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve ever been part of his inner circle – I haven’t – so I don’t know why the Government chose to do that and that’s one of the things the judges are going to be deciding, and what the Scottish case looked at.

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“They certainly didn’t manage to take the country or the Parliament along with them as they did it, and there are questions about that,” she said.

Following Mr Cameron’s comments that Mr Johnson does not believe in Brexit but instead puts his own interests first, the Edinburgh Central MSP said: “I don’t know what’s in his heart.

“I don’t know whether he desperately believes in Brexit or he doesn’t believe in Brexit and I’m not going to pretend that I do.

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“But I think people can tell if politicians are basically telling the truth or not and if they can tell if they mean what they say.”

Ms Davidson said Brexit and her family were behind her decision to step down.

“I’ve always put my work first and the job first and the role first, and sometimes that means my wider family has suffered, and now I’m making a different choice because I’ve been hopelessly conflicted over Brexit,” she said.

“I campaigned for Remain, I believe in Remain but I also believe that if you ask a question and say it’s too big for politicians to make the decision and the country has to, and the country makes a decision – even if it isn’t the decision I would have made – you’ve got to honour that.

“I do support Brexit happening, even if I didn’t want it to happen and I still want to be part of a wider union – I’ve slightly characterised my time in politics arguing to be part of wider unions.”

Ruth Davidson gives birth to son
Ruth Davidson after the birth of her baby son (Scottish Conservatives/PA)

“I’m professionally proud – I want to do a good job and I wasn’t performing at the level I had done before.”

“This weekend was the first time in the best part of a decade where I didn’t work any part of Saturday or Sunday,” she revealed, and when asked whether it was a strange feeling replied: “It felt naughty.”

Questioned about her apparent lack of ambition to become Prime Minister, she said: “I’ve got enough self-knowledge to know that one of the reasons people say (she would make a good leader) is because they knew that I’m never going to put myself forward for it.

“It’s the David Miliband thing – a king across the water is only attractive if they stay across the water, as soon as they actually get in the mix they become much less attractive of an option, I’m not kidding myself here.”

On the state of modern politics, Ms Davidson said she wants online trolls to “dial it back a bit”.

She added “I despair so much of some of the bile and venom, particularly on social media, where people are shouting at folk they’ve never met and they don’t understand some of the context of the decisions they’re making or what they are saying because they’ve never walked a mile in their shoes.”

Looking back at Gordon Brown’s speech to Parliament after the death of Mr Cameron’s young son, Ms Davidson said: “It feels like we’ve lost that decency in politics and I miss it, I really miss it.”

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