Ruth Davidson hits out at 'undemocratic' calls for second EU referendum

Posted On: 
1st October 2018

Ruth Davidson has dismissed calls for a second EU referendum and accused those in favour of demanding a re-run simply because they were on the losing side first time round.

Ruth Davidson has rejected calls for another EU referendum.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Scottish Conservative leader, who was a prominent Remain campaigner, said she would be "the worst kind of hypocrite" if she backed a so-called "People's Vote" after opposing a second independence referendum.

Her comments, in her speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, are a huge blow to Tory campaigners for another EU referendum on the final Brexit deal.

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At a fringe meeting earlier, former Tory frontbencher Dr Philip Lee claimed three more ministers could quit to call for another vote.

But Ms Davidson said her party should instead accept the referendum result and concentrate of delivering the best possible deal for the country or "risk handing the keys of Downing Street to Jeremy Corbyn".

She said: "I want to deal with this question of another referendum because over the last few weeks, I keep being asked: 'Ruth you voted Remain, surely you’d welcome the chance to try and reverse the result. Why not back another vote? Why not join all the other people who were happy to support a referendum when they thought they’d win, and are now crying foul and insisting we go through it all again'.

"Well, here’s the thing conference. Those of us in Scotland have been at this for some time already.

"Four years ago, the SNP told Scotland they’d respect the independence referendum result. And for four long years, they’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing to have another go. And to keep going till they get the result they want.

"And my response and the Prime Minister’s response has been clear: the people of Scotland spoke. They said 'No'. It’s time to move on. Well, the same message applies with Brexit.

"I don’t get to stand here and profess myself a democrat – to declare that some decisions are so big they can’t be taken by politicians alone – and then demand a re-run just because I wasn’t on the winning side.

"And if I tried to argue differently - to insist that one referendum result was sacrosanct while another should be immediately overturned, well, that would make me just the worst type of hypocrite.

"So whether you’re Conservative, Labour, Leave or Remain, Yes or No – we must respect the democratic choices we make – or we undermine the principles we all claim to uphold."

Elsewhere, Ms Davidson again ruled out ever running to become Prime Minister.

She said: "There is a job I’m after. It’s the job of First Minister of Scotland. Because I want to lead the country – and leave the SNP’s decade of division behind us."