Never one to go soft on her criticism, former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has once again let the world know her unguarded views of the PM. Speaking to Iain Dale during his Edinburgh Fringe show last night, Davidson claimed:
“[Boris] once described being Foreign Secretary to me as like being enclosed in a steel condom. I found it odd because I hadn’t asked him. I think he meant the amount of attention he had from Civil Servants to make sure he didn’t say anything. Imprisoned in a steel condom is what he said. I’ve never heard that as a phrase […] it would certainly affect performance, but this is not my area of expertise as I think you’ve already covered.”
Inevitably, Dale shot back with “I’m quite surprised that Boris Johnson knows what a condom is”…
Clearly in no mood to mince her words, Ruth Davidson tore into the government last night over plans to introduce mandatory photo ID at future elections. Appearing on Peston, Davidson said:
“I think in terms of this particular part of the Queen’s Speech, I think it’s total bollocks. And I think it’s trying to give a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, and that makes it politics as performance. And I think given where we are, and the year we’ve had, we’ve got real problems to solve in this country. And the idea that this is some sort of legislative priority, I think is for the birds.”
Davidson then took to Twitter to add that “there are bigger threats from agents outside our borders than from someone who forgets to take their drivers’ licence (if they have one) to a polling station”. David Davis said essentially the same thing; Guido wouldn’t be surprised to see this argument carry on for a while yet…
There were feisty scenes at First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood today, where unlike MPs, MSPs are already back from holiday. Ruth Davidson called for the SNP’s Education Minister and Deputy First Minister John Swinney to resign over failures in education. When Davidson called on Swinney to go, she made a point about Sturgeon’s loyalty:
“the First Minister’s loyalty to her colleague may be commendable but her real loyalty should be to the parents and pupils of Scotland. They deserve new leadership.”
To which Sturgeon clapped back with:
“I’m not sure loyalty to colleagues is a strong suit for Ruth Davidson.”
Ouch. Impressive deflection…
The hiring of Ruth Davidson by Tulchan Communications has been condemned by Francis Ingham, Director General, of the trade body PRCA
“It is simply wrong for lobbying agencies to employ legislators. The possible conflict of interest in doing so is clear, and damages the reputation of both our industry, and of the political process. PRCA members are prohibited from employing parliamentarians – and with good reason. Unlike the vast majority of its competitors, Tulchan is not a PRCA member. But in the public interest, we would nonetheless urge them to reconsider this appointment.”
Tulchan is headed by former Tory party Chairman Lord Feldman, who is also a member of the House of Lords. Another active member of the House of Lords is Lord Myners. Myners is also chairman of Edelman UK, one of the world’s largest PR firms, which is also a leading member of the PRCA.
When Guido asked the PRCA how they reconciled their biggest member being chaired by a parliamentarian, the spinner for the spinners at first said it was different because Myners was unelected, Guido pointed out Myners was still a parliamentarian, the spinner than argued that it was a ceremonial role, Guido than explained that Lord Myners actually makes and votes on laws and his role is not ceremonial. The spinner than said he would ask Francis Ingham to get back to Guido…
UPDATE: Francis Ingham gets back to spin “There is an enormous gulf between a non-executive director who has been made a Peer as an honour, and an MP or MSP whose full time job is to be an elected politician.” Lord Myners votes and makes laws. Not sure how that is alright because he only does it only part-time – it also means PRCA members are employing parliamentarians – which is supposedly against the rules.
Edelman get in touch:
“Paul Myners does not advise clients nor does he do public affairs work for Edelman. He is a cross-bench peer who chairs Edelman’s Advisory Board, which gives strategic advice and provides external challenge to the UK management team. This is entirely within the PRCA rules.”
All within the rules. That has a familiar ring to it.
Following Ruth’s unexpected decision to step down as leader of the Scottish Tories this morning, politicians north of the border are now be on manoeuvres to replace her. As ever Guido brings you the runners and riders:
This leadership competition will be ruthless…
Following speculation last night, Ruth Davidson has now formally resigned as leader of the Conservative and Unionist
Party, saying it has been the “privilege of my life to serve as @ScotTories leader“. She also implies that she’ll step down as an MSP in 2021. The Tories will be hard-pressed to find someone as able to continue their Scottish revival…
Update: Watch Ruth’s resignation speech here: