Ruth Davidson calls on Tory activists to take fight to SNP and Brexit Party
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has urged dishearted party members not to "shirk" the fight with the SNP and the Brexit Party in the upcoming European elections.
Writing in The Telegraph, Ms Davidson said voters had handed the Conservatives "a proper kicking" at the recent local elections, and admitted that the polls were "not looking good" for the party this time around.
But she said: "It simply isn’t in me to shirk a fight – it is our responsibility as elected representatives to take every opportunity to put the Conservative case to the country."
In a direct dig at the SNP and the new Brexit Party, the Scottish Tory leader said votes in the European poll could end up being "twisted or co-opted for other means".
"In Scotland, the SNP will claim any advance means Scotland would rather stay in the EU and leave the UK than the other way around – although it means nothing of the sort – whereas UK-wide Brexit Party success is likely to have cheerleaders claiming the populace would rather have a no-deal Brexit than a managed withdrawal," she said.
Ms Davidson meanwhile urged her party to look to the future beyond Brexit, saying: "New leadership brings with it the chance for renewal and floods the political landscape with oxygen."
The intervention comes after Theresa May confirmed that she would step down as Conservative within weeks following a crunch meeting with senior backbenchers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is being talked up as a potential leadership candidate, told The Telegraph that there should not be an early general election, and warned that an election could stop Brexit from ever happening.
"I think a general election before we’ve delivered Brexit would be a disaster," he said.
"People don’t want it. I’m with Brenda from Bristol. We need to take responsibility for delivering on the referendum result."
And the Cabinet minister warned that "a general election before that not only risks Jeremy Corbyn, but it risks killing Brexit altogether".