Ruth’s got her own magic circle in Holyrood.. but they could make her career vanish
Party insiders criticise Tory darling
She has become the darling of the Tories at Westminster.
Tipped by some as the woman to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister.
But Ruth Davidson’s lack of leadership in dealing with the shameful conduct of Tory politicians at home could be the unmaking of her political career, say figures within her own party.
They point to her failure to condemn inflammatory comments about gypsies by new MP Douglas Ross as a sign of weakness in her leadership.
The readmission of two councillors, suspended over the posting of offensive tweets, has also rung alarm bells in the party.
Stirling councillor Robert Davies posted racist tweets comparing black people to cannibals, while colleague Alastair Majury made derogatory remarks about Catholics and likened the SNP to Nazis. Both have now undergone diversity training by anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth.
And in the past week, Davidson has been accused of hypocrisy after taking £ 3000 – an astonishing £1 a word – to write an essay pointing out the failures of capitalism.
A senior activist, who is a member of an influential Conservative think tank, said: “It’s a case of if you’re part of her gang, you’ve almost got a free pass, and if you’re not part of her gang, then the sharp elbows come into play.
“Look at the 13 Tory MPs who won seats in the general election. There was no candidate selection.
“It was a ring-round in secret. People of a similar opinion to Ruth seem to get winnable seats.”
Davidson, MSP for Edinburgh Central, last week said she would campaign to remain in the European Union if another referendum were to be held.
The senior activist said: “She is viscerally against Brexit, which, considering we are now going down that route, is worrying.”
He added: “In terms of policy making, I don’t know what is going on. I don’t know where the policies are coming from. There are occasional announcements like there is going to be a national housing agency. Really? I don’t know when that was discussed. It just appeared out of the blue.
“That is not a good sign. It is a sign of someone being surrounded by a small group of people – and that has tripped up many prime ministers and party leaders over the years.
“If anything, we want to get the party away from that trend of having a magic circle.” In May, Davidson led the Scottish Tories to their best election since 1983, gaining 12 MPs. Her electoral success has led many Tories to see her as a future prime minister.
Last week leading Tory donor Lord Harris of Peckham said Theresa May was “hopeless” while Davidson was “top class”. He suggested that Davidson, 38, could become PM within four years.
However, former Tory MSP and Leave.EU spokesman Brian Monteith said Davidson’s stance on Brexit would put her at odds with many of the party’s MPs.
He said: “Ruth is clearly very able and greatly admired, but the next Conservative leader is undoubtedly going to be a politician who supported leaving the EU, not one who voted for Remain and is still saying they would vote Remain.”
Monteith added: “Ruth has gone a long way to once again making voting Tory a normal, everyday occurrence, but there is still a great deal of work to be done. I think a target of becoming First Minister makes much more sense than people talking her into heading for Westminster.”
But one former rival doesn’t even believe that Davidson will topple Nicola Sturgeon.
In the 2011 Holyrood election, businessman Malcolm Macaskill was the Scottish Tories’ first choice on the Glasgow regional list, but was controversially ousted to make way for Davidson.
On Wednesday, he predicted the Tories could lose up to 11 seats at the next election.
He said: “The independence threat has been central to their electoral success. The best of the bunch will survive and there are some excellent MSPs, particularly among the new intake.
“Ruth Davidson will be unable to resist a nice safe seat at Westminster with a top ministerial role and Murdo Fraser will finally become the leader in Scotland.”
UNDER FIRE Ruth Davidson faces rain of criticism LEADING LADIES Theresa May and Ruth Davidson