Tory MSP says Ruth Davidson can't stop a no-deal Brexit alone

Ruth Davidson would be unable to prevent a no-deal Brexit, a Tory MSP has admitted, but argued the UK Government "are not pursuing" leaving the EU without a deal.

Adam Tomkins. Picture: PA
Adam Tomkins. Picture: PA
Adam Tomkins. Picture: PA

The Scottish Conservatives' Brexit spokesman Adam Tomkins was asked repeatedly how Ruth Davidson could stop a no-deal Brexit following claims Boris Johnson's Government wanted it to happen.

Speaking on the day after Ms Davidson met the new Prime Minister at Holyrood, Mr Tomkins said the leader of the Scottish Conservatives had been given assurances the UK would "not surrender" attempting to renegotiate a deal.

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Asked four times about how Ms Davidson could stop a no-deal, Mr Tomkins said: "I don't think any individual is going to stop it. I think what will stop it is a majority in the House of Commons.

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"It's perfectly clear if you look at the history of voting in the House of Commons that there is no majority in the House of Commons for a no-deal Brexit, there is no majority in the

Government for a no-deal Brexit and the Prime Minister and Michael Gove are not pursuing a no-deal Brexit."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said after her meeting with the new PM that she now believed Mr Johnson's "dangerous" government wanted a no-deal Brexit.

She also described Ms Davidson's opposition to no-deal Brexit as "meaningless", claiming she has "made many bold, principled-sounding pronouncements and then quietly just fallen into line with the Westminster Tory Government".

Mr Tomkins argued the UK Government was not actively pursuing that outcome and said: "Everybody is preparing for an eventuality which they do not want to have to face.

"I remain confident that the Prime Minister and his team are going to be successful in getting the Europeans to understand that we are serious about this, that the Withdrawal Agreement that was negotiated by the previous administration cannot survive in its present form and needs to be reopened, needs to be renegotiated."

Asked about Mr Johnson's refusal to speak to European leaders unless they agreed to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement - something the EU has repeatedly said it will not do - Mr

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Tomkins said: "One of the assurances Ruth Davidson sought from the Prime Minister yesterday, and which the Prime Minister was more than willing to give, is that we are of course preparing for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit which nobody wants but at the same time there is no surrender here, we're not giving up."

The comments follow growing calls for the Scottish Conservatives to break away from the UK party, including from former MP Peter Duncan who said it is "an inevitable consequence of devolution".

The former chairman of the Scottish Tories, told The Nine that becoming an autonomous party "was the directed of travel but added: "The pace and the speed with which the destination is reached is very open to question."