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Ruth Davidson hints at future bid for UK party leadership

The former Scottish Conservative leader expects to stand down as an MSP at the next Holyrood election, but could later return to politics.

Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has hinted at return to politics in later life (Jane Barlow/PA)
Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has hinted at return to politics in later life (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Laura Paterson, PA Scotland

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has hinted at a possible return to politics when the Tories are in opposition at Westminster – and suggested she could lead the party.

After standing down from her leadership role in August, citing Brexit and personal challenges following the birth of her son Finn, she remains an MSP but has said she does not believe she will stand for re-election.

However, in an interview for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine, she suggested she may re-enter the political world when the Conservatives are in opposition at Westminster, hinting she could make a bid to lead the UK party.

She said: “It may well be that my time in politics doesn’t come again until we’re in opposition.

At the moment, I've got four or five years when my son isn't at school and that is not a time that I'm contemplating moving 450 miles away for the majority of the week. It's just some things are more important than politics Ruth Davidson

“I’ve probably got more experience than anyone in the party on how to lead from opposition.”

She told The Sunday Telegraph: “If someone tapped on my door and asked me to help, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

“But at the moment, I’ve got four or five years when my son isn’t at school and that is not a time that I’m contemplating moving 450 miles away for the majority of the week. It’s just some things are more important than politics.”

In the wide-ranging interview for Stella, she also spoke about coming out her family as gay and about the abuse she receives as a politician.

She said: “I’ve never really spoken about it because the relationship I have with my family [now] is not the same as the [one] I had with them at the time I came out.

“It’s to protect them. I put myself in this position. I’m not naive. But there are people in my life who didn’t choose that.”

“I was in my mid-20s [when I came out] – quite late. I didn’t know for ages, which is surprising, looking back,” she added.

“I came out to one member of my very close family, it didn’t go well, so I didn’t come out to the rest for two years.”

Ms Davidson said she had to learn to be “a bit of a streetfighter” in Scottish politics, saying she could get up to 1,000 abusive tweets a day.

She said: “It wears you down. I’ve had a lot of ‘string her up by a lamppost’ type stuff; ‘unionists, turncoats, traitors’… And I had an incident where someone got my phone number and made threats.

“It turned out not to be that sinister, but I didn’t know that when I was being told they wanted to burn all gays.”

PA

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