Scotland politics

Tory leader Ruth Davidson named politician of the year

Ruth Davidson
Image caption Ruth Davidson said it had been an "extraordinary year"

Ruth Davidson has become the first Conservative to be named as Scotland's Politician of the Year.

The Tory leader lifted the honour, awarded by The Herald newspaper, after a year which saw her party win a record 31 seats in the Scottish Parliament.

The result saw the Scottish Conservatives overtake Labour as the second largest party in the parliament.

Ms Davidson won the award over last year's title holder and four-time winner Nicola Sturgeon.

Conservative Brexiteer

The Edinburgh Central MSP received the award at a ceremony at Edinburgh's Prestonfield House Hotel after what she described as an "extraordinary year".

She said: "I always believed there was a way back for the centre right in politics, because we need to have a proper debate in Scotland."

In addition to reviving Conservative numbers in the Scottish Parliament, Ruth Davidson also won plaudits for her performance against leading Conservative Brexiteer Boris Johnson in a debate days before the vote on European Union membership.

The performance also saw her scoop another honour, the prize for Donald Dewar Debater of the Year.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ruth Davidson defeated the first minister and deputy first minister to lift the title

As well as seeing off competition from the first minister, the Conservative - who became leader of her party after being elected to Holyrood in 2011 - also saw off Deputy First Minister John Swinney for the top prize.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell was honoured at the event for his career in politics, collecting a lifetime achievement award.

Sir Menzies, who was an Olympic athlete and a lawyer before before entering the House of Commons, represented the North East Fife area for almost three decades between 1987 and 2015, when he stood down.

He described the award as a "first instalment", declaring: "There's plenty of life in this old dog."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell was selected as the Best Scot at Westminster after he successfully steered the 2016 Scotland Act, granting Holyrood new powers over tax and welfare, through the UK Parliament.

There's plenty of life in this old dog.

Menzies Campbell

Mr Mundell, who was praised for maintaining good relationships with the Scottish government, was given the award in the year that he came out, making him the first openly gay member of a Conservative cabinet.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton was named as Holyrood's One to Watch, picking up the award just five months after he was elected to the Scottish Parliament.

The former charity worker had fought a high profile campaign to win the Edinburgh Western constituency in May.


List of winners - 2016 Politician of the Year Awards

  • Politician of the Year - Ruth Davidson
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Sir Menzies Campbell
  • Best Scot at Westminster - David Mundell
  • Holyrood's One to Watch - Alex Cole-Hamilton
  • Committee MSP of the Year - Mary Scanlon
  • Community MSP of the Year - Jackie Baillie
  • Politics in Business Award - Fergus Ewing
  • E-Politician of the Year - Johann Lamont
  • Scottish Local Politician of the Year - Mark Macmillan
  • Public Campaign of the Year - No to Named Persons (NO2NP)

Retired Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon collected the award for Committee MSP of the Year, for her work on Holyrood's Public Audit Committee.

Meanwhile, Labour's Jackie Baillie was declared the Community MSP of the Year, after she saw off the advance of the SNP to successfully retain her Dumbarton constituency.

Other politicians to be honoured were Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, who collected the Politics in Business Award, for his efforts to retain the steelyards at Dalzell and Clydebrige.

And former Labour leader Johann Lamont was named as the E-Politician of the Year, after moving to the backbenches and being noted as a Twitter commentator.

Mark Macmillan, the Labour leader of Renfrewshire Council, was declared Scottish Local Politician of the Year for his efforts to promote Paisley.

Opponents of the Scottish government's named person legislation were also honoured, with the No to Named Persons (NO2NP) chosen as the winner of the Public Campaign of the Year category.

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