Mum’s the word among Tory MPs as Ruth Davidson changes her tune

Written by David Singleton on 13 December 2017 in Diary

The Scottish Tory leader has fuelled speculation about her Tory leadership ambitions.

Ruth Davidson has always insisted her ambitions lie solely in Scottish politics and has refused to countenance the idea of entering the Commons.

Asked by The House magazine earlier this year whether she would rule out standing as an MP in future, the Scottish Tory leader replied: “I’m certainly ruling it out for now because I’ve got a pretty bloody big job. It’s now become a bigger and much more interesting job to be an MSP than it is to be an MP from Scotland sitting on the backbenches."

On the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme a few months later, she said: “I’ve got a job at the moment. I’m not looking past 2021.”

But last night, Davidson finally capitulated and peered beyond the Scottish Parliament election in 2021. In an interview with the Spectator magazine, the Scottish Conservatives leader dropped a heavy hint that she could move to Westminster if she fails to dislodge Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland's first minister in 2021.

"Then we can start other conversations," she said, adding that she would only stand for a Scottish seat.

Davidson's change of tone has given hope to several liberal Conservatives looking a leader from the modernising, pro-EU wing of the party. Among those said to have said to have previously encouraged her to stand for the party leadership in future are David Cameron.

But it is not just liberal Remainers who would like to see Davidson at the top of the Tory party one day, according to one well-networked MP. A number of more traditional right-wing colleagues have also reacted positively to last night’s repositioning, says the Tory parliamentarian.

Why? Because unlike the current premier, Davidson is widely seen as a charismatic and tough female leader who has already proved she has the credentials to whip her party into shape.

Or as the experienced Tory MP puts it: “She reminds them of Mummy.”

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