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Ruth Davidson urges MPs to 'vote for a deal' as she resigns as Scottish Tory leader

She is to remain on as an MSP until 2021.

scottish-conservatives-party-conference Source: PA Wire/PA Images

RUTH DAVIDSON HAS resigned as the Tory party’s Scottish leader, citing family commitments. She is to remain on as MSP for Central Edinburgh until 2021.

“It has been the privilege of my life to serve as the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party,” she wrote in her resignation letter, dated today.

Davidson has been highly critical of a no-deal Brexit, but does not mention yesterday’s controversial decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks in the lead up to the 31 October Brexit deadline.

“While I have not hidden the conflict I have felt over Brexit, I have attempted to chart a course for our party which recognises and respects the referendum result, while seeking to maximise opportunities and mitigate risks for key Scottish businesses,” she wrote, citing fishing fleets and whiskey producers who she hoped feel “well represented”.

She said that her son Finn, who was born this year, has changed her life and her priorities. With the threat of an election looming, Davidson said that “spending hundreds of hours away from my home and family now fills me with dread. This is no way to lead.”

The arrival of my son means I now make a different choice.

Answering questions from reporters during a press conference, Ruth Davidson said that she was about to marry an Irish woman, said so she quoted “an Irish saying”:

‘If you want to get somewhere you wouldn’t necessarily start from here.’ I think we had three golden opportunities to support a deal. I think the people who are saying they’d do anything to avoid no-deal, they had an open goal gaping in front of them three times and they kicked the ball over the bar.
To colleagues who want to avoid a no-deal: vote for a deal! You’ve had three opportunities, you blew every one of them, don’t blow a fourth.

She said that Johnson had “categorically assured” her that he’s looking to get a Brexit deal, and that she believes him when he says this.

“His efforts in Biarritz helped open the door a crack,” Davidson said she was told by Johnson.

She added that she stands “foursquare behind” Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his attempts to get another Brexit deal with the European Union.  

Davidson has been leader of the Scottish Tories since 2011, and was one of the leading voices in the 2014 campaign against Scottish independence.

She said today that she considered her role in that “the most important contribution of my working life and my commitment to keeping the United Kingdom together remains undimmed”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “On behalf of everyone in the Conservative & Unionist Party, I want to thank Ruth Davidson for her wonderful service over the last 8 years. She has dedicated so much time and energy to the role & has been instrumental in the revival of our electoral fortunes in Scotland. 

I will miss the incredible leadership she has given to our Party in Scotland, but am delighted she will continue to use her passion & dedication to make the case for Scotland’s place in the UK from the backbenches and beyond. I wish Ruth, Jen & Finn all the best for the future.

Former Tory leader and Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted that she was “Sorry to see Ruth Davidson step down as Leader of the Scottish Tories. Thank you for all you’ve done for our party and our Union over the last 8 years, and enjoy your well-deserved family time with Jen and Finn.”

Today, former Transport Secretary George Young has today quit his position as government whip in the House of Lords over Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament.

“I am very unhappy at the timing and length of the prorogation, and its motivation,” he said in his resignation letter.

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