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Arlene Foster wouldn't be comfortable with idea of getting into bed with me, says gay Tory leader Davidson over DUP deal

'Pretty awful gay marriage banned in one part of UK'

Gay Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said it is "pretty awful" same-sex marriage is banned in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference, she was asked how she felt about her party "getting into bed" with the DUP in order to run a minority government.

"I'm not sure Arlene Foster would be comfortable with the idea of getting into bed with me," she said.

The MSP also said she sought assurances from Theresa May that progress on gay rights would not be diverted by her party's £1bn deal with the Northern Ireland party.

 

At the event Ms Davidson told the Tory party it needed to "man up" and get over its "nervous breakdown" following Theresa May's general election humiliation.

A popular figure within the party, she played down the prospect of succeeding Mrs May at Number 10 saying instead she was focused on overthrowing Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland's first minister as being prime minister appeared to be the "loneliest job in the world".

The Tories have 13 seats in Scotland, having gone into the election with just one, and Ms Davidson said while the issue of protecting the union was an important factor in that success, she also avoided the mistakes made by Mrs May's campaign south of the border.

"I was able to write my own manifesto that didn't involve things like taking winter fuel allowance off old people or asking to reform social care without being able to explain to people why it is," she said.

"You can't pitch roll a major policy shift three weeks into an election campaign, it doesn't work."

Scottish Tory MPs are learning to operate as a bloc at Westminster and because Mrs May does not have a majority, they can wield influence over the Prime Minister, something Ms Davidson suggested would result in extra funding for Scotland.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had acknowledged they were "assertive" and Ms Davidson said she was "looking forward to hearing the Budget".

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