Ruth Davidson says Boris Johnson taking 'big risk' with Tory party by kicking out 21 MPs

Posted On: 
9th September 2019

Ruth Davidson has accused Boris Johnson of taking a “big risk” with the Tory party's chances at a general election by kicking out 21 rebels over Brexit.

Ruth Davidson stood down as Scottish Conservative leader last month
PA Images

The former Scottish Conservative leader backed Amber Rudd’s decision to quit the Cabinet over the “act of political vandalism” in sacking those who voted to block a no-deal exit.

Breaking her silence since her resignation with an article in the Evening Standard, she wrote: “Kicking 21 Conservatives - many very senior and well known by the public - out of the party makes us less of a broad church and, in voters’ minds, less representative of the country as a whole.

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“As satisfying as it might have been for those in Number 10 frustrated by Commons stalling on Brexit, it may still prove as ‘short-sighted’ as Amber Rudd predicts.”

Ms Davidson, who stepped down last month to spend more time with her family, rubbished the “Government spinners” who said the sackings were “nothing personal”,.

She suggested Mr Johnson was doing it to ensure the moderates were replaced by “more compliant Conservatives” after a snap general election.

But she said that was the wrong strategy to pursue, and that the party needs to be “a broad church” to reflect the different voters around the country.

She said: “Binning Rory Stewart in Penrith and Justine Greening in Putney, who have been re-elected multiple times by those communities and whose talents have led them all the way to the Cabinet table, seems to me a big risk... “

“So for every Nicholas Soames - Eton-educated, former army officer and grandson of Winston Churchill, beloved in his mid-Sussex constituency - you need a Guto Bebb, the Welsh-speaking nephew of a rugby international, representing Aberconwy in North Wales.”

All four MPs mentioned are now blocked from standing as Conservatives in any upcoming election, after they backed the legislation ruling out a no-deal Brexit.

Ex-defence secretary Michael Fallon said last Friday that the decision to remove the whip sent the "wrong message" to millions of Remain voters.

He urged the Prime Minister to offer the MPs the opportunity to appeal their expulsion, otherwise those who backed staying in the EU could be pushed towards the Liberal Democrats and SNP.

Ms Davidson agreed the Tories would struggle at an election and accused Number 10 of using the same tactics as in 2017.

She said that the polls are “similar to the gap enjoyed by Theresa May right before she called an election two years ago and promptly lost her majority”.