Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Telegraph: Ruth Davidson mustn't shy away from the fight she faces with Theresa May and the Brexiteers

The Telegraph: Ruth Davidson mustn't shy away from the fight she faces with Theresa May and the Brexiteers

by Alan Cochrane

"It is pretty plain that she looks to be on a collision course with mainstream English Tory opinion on the consequences of the EU vote, given that Scotland voted to remain. With a hard Brexit favoured by many in Theresa May’s Cabinet, Ruth Davidson has openly declared herself as backing Britain to remain in the single market, so as to preserve and protect Scotland’s economy.

What? Even if that means accepting the free movement of people and more EU migrants, her critics ask? To which La Davidson, in an impassioned speech to the Tory conference in Birmingham, gave a resounding ‘Yes’, saying “immigrants should be made to feel welcome” in the UK.

Her Birmingham effort came just before Mrs May’s speech, which was roundly condemned by the SNP and Labour, as being a return to reactionary Tory ways. But they will find it difficult to make this ‘guilt by association’ claim stick on Ms Davidson, given the way she has distanced herself from the anti immigrant noises from south of the Cheviots.

The Scottish Tory leader’s problem is that immigration policy is reserved to Westminster and is likely to remain so but she will be under tremendous pressure to win some form of special deal for Scotland – possibly a points system for key workers or for students – in the Brexit negotiations.

Ruth Davidson is managing to achieve a separate image for the Tories in Scotland but to maintain that shift she will simply have to accept that a public fight with Theresa May and her Cabinet of Brexiters will have to be on the cards."

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