Ruth Davidson hints at future UK Conservative leadership bid

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Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has hinted she may return to politics when the Tories are in opposition at Westminster, even suggesting she could lead the party.

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

Ms Davidson stood down as leader in August, citing Brexit and changing priorities after the birth of her son.

She does not plan to stand for re-election in the 2021 Holyrood election.

In an interview for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine, she hinted she could make a bid to lead the UK party – perhaps re-entering politics when the Conservatives are in opposition at Westminster.

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

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

Ms Davidson continued: “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.”

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Ms Davidson tweeted a picture of herself with Finn and her partner Jen Wilson

Ms Davidson stood down as Scottish Conservative leader in August. She said her personal priorities had changed after she and her partner, Jen Wilson, had a son, Finn, last October.

Over the eight years she led her party, she was widely credited with turning around the fortunes of the Tories in Scotland

She has previously ruled out wanting to be prime minister because she valued her “mental health too much”.

Coming out

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.”

Phone threats

Ms Davidson said she had to learn to be “a bit of a street fighter” 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.”

Earlier this year, Ms Davidson was at the centre of controversy after she accepted a “contentious” job with a lobbying firm.

Some opposition politicians said it was a conflict of interest and in October she said she would not take the job.

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