Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Ruth Davidson set to quit as Scottish Tory leader due to 'family and Boris'

Ruth Davidson is expected to quit as Scottish Conservative Party leader as she becomes ‘increasingly at odds’ with Boris Johnson.

Insiders in the party say she is also struggling to balance her duties with the pressures of parenthood, after becoming a mum in October.

The former journalist is expected to step down tomorrow, in the aftermath of the Prime Minister’s announcements of plans to temporarily suspend parliament in September.

A spokesman said Ms Davidson, who took the reins of her party in November 2011, will ‘make her position clear in due course’.

One source told The Sun: ‘She has been under huge pressure as a new mum. Nobody really fully understands how your life is going to change as a parent until it happens. Ruth is no different in this respect.

‘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.’

Another source said her two main reasons for leaving are ‘family and Boris’ and said the Brexiteer Prime Minister ‘goes against so much of what she’s fought for’.

Ms Davidson, 40, was widely hailed for improving the image of the party in Scotland and was tipped as a future leader of the UK party.

But she said she would not stand last year, shortly before giving birth to her son Finn after IVF treatment.

She campaigned for Remain in the 2016 European referendum and clashed with Johnson over the issue of the UK’s future membership of the EU.

Ms Davidson went up against Johnson in a televised referendum debate at Wembley Stadium in 2016.

She remained a vocal critic of Johnson and backed Sajid Javid and then Jeremy Hunt during the latest Conservative Party leadership contest.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: ‘Ruth will make her position clear in due course. There will be no further comment tonight.’

But he stressed the decision is ‘not connected to today’s Brexit developments in any way’.

Ms Davidson, who is engaged to her partner Jen Wilson, stepped out of the political frontline to go on maternity leave, with her deputy Jackson Carlaw standing in as interim leader.

She made her comeback speech to the Scottish Conservative conference in Aberdeen in May this year.

Under her leadership, the Scottish Conservatives won a record 31 seats at Holyrood in the 2016 election, with the Tories ousting Labour from second place.

She cemented this result with a strong performance in the 2017 general election, when the party returned 13 MPs from north of the border and helped keep Theresa May in Downing Street.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the loss of Ms Davidson would be a ‘real blow to her party’.

The Labour MSP added: ‘This shows that even within his own ranks, Boris Johnson is already losing support and credibility.’

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: ‘It’s no surprise Ruth Davidson has run out of reasons to stand by this dangerous and power hungry Prime Minister.

‘There must be lots of other like-minded Conservatives who are horrified at this blatant abuse of power and can’t stomach being party to this destructive agenda any longer.

‘They should take this as the signal to abandon ship.’

Labour MP for Edinburgh South Ian Murray said: ‘Ruth Davidson is a formidable politician and her departure will be deeply felt by her party.

‘She campaigned tirelessly for a Remain vote in the EU referendum, but the Tories under Boris Johnson have become a hard Brexit party, so it is not surprising that it has come to this.’

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