Ruth leads the anti-John­son back­lash

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Glen Owen

SCOT­TISH Tory leader Ruth David­son launched an out­spo­ken at­tack on Boris John­son for throw­ing down the gaunt­let to Theresa May on the day that Lon­don was tar­geted by ter­ror­ists.

Ms David­son said: ‘On the day of a ter­ror at­tack where Bri­tons were maimed, just hours af­ter the threat level is raised, our only thoughts should be on ser­vice.’

It is not the first time that the two Tories, both of whom have been tipped as fu­ture party lead­ers, have clashed. Friends say that 38-year-old Ms David­son ‘cor­dially loathes’ the 52-year-old Old Eto­nian, re­gard­ing him as ‘toxic’ to the party’s prospects north of the Bor­der. She has been openly mock­ing of his ‘brazen chau­vin­is­tic style’ and has even pri­vately threat­ened to break from the UK Tories and form a new party if Boris be­came Prime Min­is­ter.

Such a move would be dev­as­tat­ing: Theresa May only clung on to power in the Gen­eral Elec­tion thanks to the 12 seats Ms David­son gained in Scot­land.

The en­mity stems in large part from Boris’s Brexit be­liefs, which Re­mainer Ms David­son strongly op­poses.

Dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum she warned that leav­ing the EU would harm the poor most, while ‘Boris John­son and Nigel Farage would be OK’ be­cause of their wealth.

In one TV de­bate, ques­tion­ing the eco­nomic ef­fect of a fail­ure to strike post-Brexit trade deals, she taunted him: ‘How many jobs will it be, Boris? How many?’

She has also cracked near the-knuckle jokes about ‘the Tories en­joy­ing a post-coital cig­a­rette af­ter with­draw­ing our mas­sive John­son’.

Ms David­son, whose down-toearth style has been a hit with vot­ers, has surged past Boris in in­ter­nal Party pop­u­lar­ity.

Af­ter Mrs May’s Elec­tion dis­as­ter, Ms David­son won the high­est net sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing among party mem­bers of any se­nior Tory – with an 84.5 per cent pos­i­tive rat­ing, well ahead of Boris at 38.8 per cent.

Ms David­son, of course, has said that her first aim is to dis­place Nicola Stur­geon as First Min­is­ter of Scot­land.

But her pop­u­lar­ity means that other Tory lead­er­ship con­tenders have been court­ing her as the lead­er­ship ‘king­maker’.

OUT­SPO­KEN: Ruth David­son is a long-time critic of Boris

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