Ruth Davidson: Tories are too dour and joyless

Posted On: 
22nd May 2018

The Conservatives are too "joyless" and need to be more optimistic to win over sceptical voters, according to Ruth Davidson.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson

In comments seen as a thinly-veiled swipe at Theresa May, the Scottish Tory leader also said her party needs to be less "authoritarian".

Speaking alongside Michael Gove at the launch of new centre-right thinktank Onward, Ms Davidson said: “Sometimes as Tories we just look a bit dour.

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“We look a bit joyless, a bit authoritarian sometimes. We don’t get to win if we start hectoring the people we need to vote for us.”

She added: “When you do it with a smile, they actually get behind you.”

Ms Davidson has also said she was left "hurt" and "angry" over the Windrush scandal, which saw British citizens wrongly targeted by the Home Office.

The Scottish Conservative leader criticised the way individuals had been treated by the department, saying they had been subjected to "basic unfairness".

The Windrush scandal concerns people who were granted British citizenship when they came from the Caribbean between the 1940s and 1970s but have been denied their rights after being caught up in an illegal immigration crackdown.

Many have been threatened with deportation or stripped of their rights to work, benefits and healthcare, while it is thought some may even have been kicked out of the country.

Ms Davidson called for a review of the Government’s approach to immigration in the wake of the scandal and suggested foreign students could be taken out of migration figures – a move which has been repeatedly rejected by Theresa May.

She told the BBC: "I don't see what use they are being there."

On public discussion of immigration, Ms Davidson added: "I think there's lots of different questions that we can ask, but we need to do it in a way that is open and that is positive and is in a kind of non-judgemental way, and sometimes in the past it's been far too judgemental".