Keep your grubby hands off our Ruth, Jef­frey!

Grandee warned me not to poach her, re­veals Archer

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By John Dingwall

FOR­MER MP Jef­frey Archer has re­vealed he was warned off poach­ing Ruth David­son as a po­ten­tial re­place­ment for Theresa May be­cause she was ‘needed’ in Scot­land.

The ex-deputy chair­man of the Con­ser­va­tive Party claims he was told to keep his ‘hands off’ the leader of the Scot­tish Tories by Lord San­der­son dur­ing the 2015 Gen­eral Elec­tion cam­paign.

Lord San­der­son had been re­spon­si­ble for over­haul­ing the Scot­tish party lead­er­ship fol­low­ing the dis­as­trous 2010 Gen­eral Elec­tion in which the Tories won only one seat north of the Bor­der.

Yes­ter­day, in an in­ter­view with The Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day, Lord Archer, 78, told how he had help­fully sug­gested to Lord San­der­son three years ago that Miss David­son would make ‘a rather good leader of the party’ over­all.

He said: ‘Lord San­der­son replied, “Keep your grubby hands off her Jef­frey, she’s ours and we in­tend to keep her”.’

Lord Archer added: ‘I was very sur­prised. I think she is a thor­oughly de­cent hu­man be­ing and I think the Tory Party were in­cred­i­bly lucky that she ar­rived at this par­tic­u­lar time be­cause if she hadn’t the Tory Party in Scot­land would have been wiped out at the last elec­tion.’

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that Miss David­son had ruled out be­com­ing leader of the party in the fu­ture, Lord Archer said: ‘I’d vote for Ruth David­son as a per­son.

‘I can hon­estly say to you I am very impressed by her. She strikes me as a woman of her word.

‘She strikes me at one level as a very sim­ple hon­est per­son and on an­other as a very so­phis­ti­cated politi­cian.

‘With some peo­ple they would be bluff­ing about not want­ing to be leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party, but with her I ac­cept what she says with­out hes­i­ta­tion.’

Lord Archer, who is also an in­ter­na­tional best-sell­ing au­thor, has pub­lished his lat­est novel, Heads You Win, to crit­i­cal ac­claim.

The new novel de­scribes a KGB as­sas­si­na­tion and in­volves a ruth­less Krem­lin regime.

The master sto­ry­teller who has sold more than 330 mil­lion books across 97 coun­tries since pub­lish­ing his first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, in 1976, be­lieves that there could also be a plot twist ahead for First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon.

‘Every politi­cian has a shelf life as An­gela Merkel is dis­cov­er­ing,’

‘Every politi­cian has a shelf life’

Lord Archer said. ‘There doesn’t seem an ob­vi­ous suc­ces­sor [to Miss Stur­geon], so I as­sume she’ll re­main in place for some time. And she re­mains de­ter­mined, prob­a­bly in her life­time, to see Scot­land be­come in­de­pen­dent.’

On the prospect of Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence, he added: ‘If the Scot­tish peo­ple want an­other in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, who are we to ar­gue? Who can say what young peo­ple will de­cide in 30 or 40 years, but I would have thought it un­likely in the short term.’

NICE TRY: His sug­ges­tion that David­son move south was re­buffed

RUTH DAVID­SON: ‘So­phis­ti­cated’

NOVEL: Archer’s lat­est work

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