Britain's Brexit offer may change, Scottish Conservative leader says

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

A charismatic politician with a sense of humour who is respected even by her rivals, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was everything Prime Minister Theresa May was not on the campaign trail.

Ms Davidson will also attend a meeting of top cabinet ministers, since emerging from last week's election as one of the most powerful figures in the party.

"In terms of how we reach out to others and how we take on board their ideas there is lots of work to be done".

"I don't want to see the Brexit deal going through (Britain's national parliament) the House of Commons with a majority of one, I want to see it going through the House of Commons with support across parties", Mundell told BBC Scotland.

But she agreed with Tory Remainers like Anna Soubry that a big majority for Theresa May after the June 8th snap election could lessen the influence of "Brexiteer bastards" on the Tory backbenches and allow Brexit to be watered down. The greater the majority, the easier it is to push through legislation.

"I watched every single Conservative seat in Scotland fall, so I've waited a really long time for a comeback", she told AFP before the election. The party still won the largest number of seats and votes - with 318 seats and 12,667,213 votes (42.8% of the overall vote).

The success of the Scottish Conservatives helped save May from total disaster and could now give 38-year-old Davidson a more prominent role in British politics.

It is thought that the Scottish Conservative Westminster Group - larger than the Democratic Unionists - will vote as a discrete bloc but not seek to overturn policies in the United Kingdom party's manifesto and will not attempt to scrap the so-called "rape clause", which put the party and Ms Davidson in particular under pressure during the election campaign, as the Tories believe the two-child welfare cap is popular with voters. This is an increase from just one seat in 2015.

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Davidson is not a Westminster lawmaker but spearheaded her party's Scottish election campaign. This is in stark contrast of his criticism of May, whom he called a " dead woman walking".

Since then, the Tories have had to put Brexit talks on the backburner while it tries to form a minority government with Northern Ireland party DUP leader Arlene Foster. But the following day, the government backtracked on the statement.

The ultra-conservative DUP is opposed to gay marriage, and Davidson's support for gay rights also promises an awkward relationship with the party May must now rely on to be able to govern.

May meant to gain a majority in the snap general election, instead of waiting until 2020, in order to make it easier to push through her Brexit agenda.

The shortfall has opened a debate about May's Brexit plans, which include leaving the EU's single market, striking a new customs deal and limiting immigration from Europe.

There are deep splits within the Scottish Tories on Brexit, and Davidson has said she will be calling for a softer Brexit.

However, Davidson is not expected to call on every member of her Scottish group to vote as a bloc on other United Kingdom wide or worldwide matters, such as social or moral issues, or the trade, immigration or treaty parts of the Brexit deal.

Other reports by VgToday

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