Tory leader steps down

Davidson resigns ‘with heavy heart’ amid conflict over Brexit

Ruth Davidson facing the media (pic: Terry Murden)

Ruth Davidson today confirmed that she was stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party amid ‘conflict over Brexit’, but said her decision was as much for personal as political reasons.

Describing the role as “the privilege of my life”, she said the arrival of her son last year had been a key factor in her decision and the prospect of spending hundreds of hours away from my home and family to fight elections “now fills me with dread. That is no way to lead.”

Ms Davidson, who made her announcement at a media conference in Edinburgh, gave few hints of any tension with Prime Minister Boris Johnson though many observers noted the timing of her decision just hours after he announced the suspension of parliament next month and that he takes a harder line on Brexit.

She said MPs had rejected three attempts at securing a deal and urged them to get behind the Prime Minister to ensure Britain did not leave the EU without a deal.

She said he had attempted to reconcile her belief in respecting the 2016 referendum while seeking to defend the interests of business. She said that despite making gains in Scottish seats, she regarded her most important achievement as helping to defend the union.

“It has been the privilege of my life to serve as leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party for the past nearly eight years,” she said. “This has been a remarkable time in politics and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to have a front seat as Scottish political history was being made.

“I am so proud of the teams we have built as a party at Holyrood, Westminster and in council chambers across the country. Proud, too, of the work we have done to reach out to all communities in Scotland – North or South, rural or urban and – after some fallow decades – prove ourselves a truly national party once again.

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