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Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson resigns

The leader of the Conservative party in Scotland has resigned. Ruth Davidson said she was standin...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.10 29 Aug 2019


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Scottish Conservative leader R...

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson resigns

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.10 29 Aug 2019


Share this article


The leader of the Conservative party in Scotland has resigned.

Ruth Davidson said she was standing down primarily for family reasons - but acknowledged she has "not hidden the conflict I have felt over Brexit".

Ms Davidson - who'd served as leader since 2011 - had campaigned for a 'remain' vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

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Speaking this morning, she told reporters Boris Johnson had "categorically assured" her last week that he's seeking a Brexit deal.

She said: "He believes that his efforts [at the G7 summit in] Biarritz have helped open the door - a crack.

"I know what would help further would be for people who want to avoid no deal to come out and say that if a deal is brought back to parliament they would back it.

"I want him to get that deal. I believe that's what he and his government are working towards, and I support him in that effort."

Resignation letter

In her resignation letter, Ms Davidson said the main change in her life has been starting a family - having given birth to a son last year.

In the letter to the Scottish Conservative party chairman, Ms Davidson said the role was the "privilege of my life".

She said: "I see the Scottish Election due in 2021 and a credible threat from our opponents to force a general election before then.

"Having led our party through seven national elections and two referenda, I know the efforts, hours and travel required to fight such campaigns successfully.

"I have to be honest that where the idea of getting on the road to fight two elections in 20 months would once have fired me up, the threat of spending hundreds of hours away from my home and family now fills me with dread.

"This is no way to lead."

She added that she plans to remain as a member of the Scottish parliament until 2021.

Recent opinion polls have shown drops in support for the Conservative party in Scotland, while the Liberal Democrats and the SNP have gained support.

Ms Davidson's decision comes amid the continuing fallout from Boris Johnson's move to suspend the UK parliament in the weeks leading up to the planned Brexit date of 2021.

The move has been sharply criticised by a number of backbench MPs, while George Young - a veteran Tory politician and current government whip in the House of Lords - this morning resigned over Mr Johnson's decision.

Main image: File photo of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Picture by: Jane Barlow/PA Wire/PA Images

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