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Ruth Davidson dismisses Scottish Tories breakaway claim

Davidson has lead Scottish Conservatives since 2011 after opposing a similar plan put forward by her leadership rival.

Ruth Davidson has dismissed a suggestion she will seek to break the Scottish Conservatives away from the UK party following a humiliating General Election result for Theresa May.

The Daily Telegraph reported that aides for Ms Davidson were working on a deal that would see the Scottish party split from the UK party.

It follows the Scottish Tories recording their best result in a general election for more than three decades on Thursday, with their tally of MPs increased from one to 13.

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(PA Graphics)

Writing on Twitter, the Scottish Tory leader dismissed the newspaper claim as “b****cks”.

“Folk might remember I fought a leadership election on the other side of that particular argument,” she added.

Ms Davidson was elected as leader of the Scottish Conservatives in 2011 after opposing a similar plan put forward by rival Murdo Fraser, now the party’s finance spokesman.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: “I saw that piece in the Telegraph with some interest and it rang some bells for some things I said a few years ago but I’m assured that there’s not a lot of truth in this particular story.”

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Ruth Davidson stood against Murdo Fraser (Andrew Mliligan/PA)

Ms Davidson has said she has received assurances from the Prime Minister over gay rights should the Tories do a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, and has urged Mrs May to put the economy first by pursuing an “open” Brexit.

Mr Fraser said having a larger group of MPs in Westminster would “make a huge difference” to the influence of the Scottish Conservatives on issues including Brexit.

“What you’ll see is the new group of Scottish Conservatives arguing for what is in the interest of Scottish communities and Scottish business. I think we can have a tremendous amount of leverage.”

He repeated calls for the SNP to “drop indyref2” in the wake of the party losing 21 Westminster seats, including those of former first minister Alex Salmond and SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has conceded her plans for a second vote were “undoubtedly” a factor in the result and has said she will reflect on the results.

Scotland’s Finance and Constitution Secretary Derek Mackay, who directed the SNP’s election campaign, told the same programme: “The First Minister has said that she’ll reflect on the result but the fact that another Tory government that Scotland has not elected will rule over us with policies that Scotland just doesn’t support I think has been another lesson on why Scotland should have a choice.

“Of course we’ll listen and reflect, it’s too premature to say what we’ll do next around that.”

The Scottish Daily Telegraph’s Alan Cochrane said: “The story was impeccably sourced and I stand by every word.”

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