Scottish Conservatives: Ruth Davidson unlikely to seek re-election

Image source, Getty Images

Ruth Davidson has confirmed she is unlikely to seek re-election in 2021.

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives told an audience at a book festival she would see out her term as MSP for Edinburgh Central.

Ms Davidson quit her role as the party's leader in August after eight years in the job.

She said at Saturday's event that she did so because she was "hopelessly conflicted by Brexit" and also wanted to spend more time being a mum.

Speaking at the Wigtown Book Festival, she told event chairwoman Sarah Smith that it was true that she and Boris Johnson were "not buddy, buddy pals" but she did not leave due to disagreements with him.

Ms Davidson added that she believed that the public would soon demand higher standards of public debate.

Asked if she worried about the tone of public discourse - especially on social media - she said: "Yes, I do. I personally think that it will self-right. I think there comes a point where the public of this country will be so disgusted that they will demand better."

Image source, Wigtown Book Festival

On the issue of a second independence referendum, she was asked if she would consider leading any future equivalent of 2014's Better Together campaign.

She replied: "Look, I hope there won't be a next time … I will do what I can to stop that happening, but if it is happening there is absolutely no way that I am going to sit it out.

"This is my country it's what I've fought for, it's what I believe in. And whether anyone wants me to hold a position or whether they want me to go round, knock doors and hand out leaflets, I'm happy doing both."

She added: "I've just left a big job, I'm not angling for another, I could be yesterday's news a week on Tuesday. I'm not going to pretend that I would be best the person for the job, if it ever happens, in 10 or 15 years time, but if people want a hand then I'll help."

After saying that she was unsure what direction her career will take in future, it may be in business or charity, Ms Davidson added that she "was gainfully employed until May 2021".

Asked if this meant she would not be standing for the Scottish Parliament again she said: "It's a fairly open secret that I think I'm going to see out my term… I'm giving myself the option to change my mind but I don't think that I will stand again."