Ruth Davidson: Brexit could deliver an economic hit we never recover from

Posted On: 
6th September 2017

The UK may never bounce back from the "economic hit" of Brexit, Ruth Davidson has warned.

Ruth Davidson speaking in Holyrood
PA Images

The Scottish Conservative leader, who was a vocal supporter of the Remain campaign and has recently called for continued membership of the single market, said it is her “real fear” that Britain will not rebound from a financial shock.

Numerous reports have warned Brexit will put the economy at risk. Morgan Stanley said earlier this week that political instability would have a knock-on effect on the UK’s economic performance, causing growth to grind to a halt.

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“My real fear is that if there’s a short-term economic hit, we don’t bounce back from it,” Ms Davidson, who is regularly touted as a future prime minister, told the New Statesman.

Elsewhere in the interview, she criticised the Government for failing to prepare the public for the complexities of negotiating with the European Commission.

“One of the things the UK government didn’t do that they should have done was pitch-roll this: remind the British public that when it comes to European negotiations – and we’ve had several decades of them – we are told no until five past midnight and then suddenly a deal gets done in the wee small hours of the morning.

“I don’t think the country was prepared for this period that we’re currently in. People in a room talking and then walking out and up to a bank of microphones and saying entirely different things while standing next to each other is part of what negotiation is.

“I think the UK government has not just an obligation but a duty to negotiate as hard as they can on behalf of the country.”

Ms Davidson also predicted the Tories were in with a chance of becoming the biggest party at Holyrood by 2021.

Labour was once the dominant force in Scotland but came third in the general election, securing seven seats. The Conservatives won 13 and the SNP held onto 35, making it the best Scottish Tory result since 1983.

“When 2021 comes around, people will be looking for a first minister, and the option they’re going to have is Nicola Sturgeon again or me,” she said.