Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson appears reluctant to give Boris Johnson full backing

'I sat down with Boris, we had a very good meeting and he is taking the role incredibly seriously'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Sunday 02 October 2016 16:05
Ruth Davidson won't say she has confidence in Boris Johnson

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, has failed to give her full backing to Boris Johnson despite being pressed on the issue three times.

The pair had clashed during the European Union referendum campaign, most notably during one of the final televised debates at Wembley Stadium where she accused the Foreign Secretary of “selling a lie” to the British public.

Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show, Ms Davidson also revealed the two had a “good meeting” before the Conservative conference in Birmingham got underway. However, the Scottish Tory leader repeatedly refused to say whether she had confidence in the former London mayor.

Ms Davidson was pressed by presenter Gordon Brewer to say the sentence “I have confidence in Boris Johnson”.

“I've always had confidence in the role of the foreign secretary,” she responded.

Asked a second time, she said: “I sat down with Boris, we had a very good meeting and he is taking the role incredibly seriously. He’s a man who speaks five languages, he’s worked on the continent of Europe, he worked in Brussels for many years and was born in America, which is our greatest trading partner. In terms of qualifications for the job he’s got them in spades and he’s applying himself to the job.

“I think that shows a real will. He’s wanting to engage with the Scottish government, he’s wanting to engage with Scotland.”

Pressed a third time, Ms Davidson said: “I have more confidence in Boris Johnson now that I’ve sat down with him than I had before, there you go.”

The Scottish Tory leader said Brexit Secretary David Davis had informed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in advance of Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on triggering Article 50. She added: “It is important that Scotland's voice is heard. I’m pleased to see that there’s an understanding within the UK Government that they want to take all of the devolved administrations along with them.

“It’s important that we do this as a whole country of the UK and we do it in the right manner.”

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said: “Ruth Davidson is proving to be a political contortionist as she tries to keep in with the right-wing Brexiteers now leading her party at Westminster.

“After branding Boris Johnson a ‘liar’, she's now bigging up his CV for the job of Foreign Secretary but not quite bringing herself to give her unqualified support, since she knows he’s just seen as blundering joker by people in Scotland.

“Ruth Davidson’s attempt to be everything to everyone is the worst sort of contrived populism that really turns people off politics.”

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