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Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson tells party to ‘man up’

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson tells party to ‘man up’

By Joe Watts: Political Editor


The Scottish Conservative leader said the party needed to challenge Labour saying ‘I’ll start the fight’

Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson has urged her party to “get over its current nervous breakdown and man up”.

Ms Davidson said that Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity would not last and that the Conservatives need to “start the fight”, offering to do it herself.

Addressing the row over whether Boris Johnson should have been sacked for his repeated media interventions on Brexit, she said she would sack anyone from her party in Scotland who openly contradicted the agreed line on a policy.

Ms Davidson is becoming seen as the politician who can ensure the Conservatives reach out to voters, especially young people, who they are not currently engaging.

In front of a room of 300 people she was asked if she is the person to save her party, responding: “I don’t think the party needs saving.

“I think it needs to get over its current nervous breakdown and man up a little bit.”

It comes as the Tories are still coming to terms with losing their majority and working out how Mr Corbyn’s Labour has come to be seen as the party offering a vision to which the UK is responding.

Ms Davidson said it is right her party explores the reasons its offering at the election did not chime enough with voters, but added: “There is a point at which you have to lift your eyes to the horizons as well.”

She went on: “What I’m saying is, just because people are chanting ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’, let’s not be faint-hearted about this, we are on the right side of the argument on the economy.

“We know that we need to ensure that we adapt to a changing world, that we are supporting our public services, that we are looking after the younger generation.

“But we don’t just pack up and go home because they have got a bit of a spring in their step. We get stuck in, like I say, show me them, I’ll start the fight.”

Her appearance comes amid the ongoing row over Mr Johnson’s position, with some MPs calling for him to be sacked after he conducted an interview at the weekend in which he made Brexit demands that went further than Ms May had in her recent speech in Florence.

Ms Davidson sidestepped several questions about Mr Johnson, and whether he should have been sacked.

She said, however, that she had told her MSPs: “If any of you think of writing anything, without telling me, that is counter to current Scottish Conservative policy; you are out on your ear because nobody is unsackable.”

Ms Davidson said she could not see herself wanting to become leader, branding it the “loneliest job in the world”, but underlined the importance of blocking Mr Corbyn’s path to Downing Street.

She added: “I do want the job of being first minister of Scotland and that’s what I’m working towards in 2021.”

But asked what was more important, being first minister or stopping Mr Corbyn, she underlined how she thought the Labour leader was a threat to the union.

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