Ruth Davidson ready to defy UK Government on Brexit

Ruth Davidson could oppose the UK Government's eventual Brexit deal
Ruth Davidson could oppose the UK Government's eventual Brexit deal
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Ruth Davidson has warned she is ready to  oppose a bad Brexit deal which would be damaging to Scotland's interest.

The Scottish Tory leader accused Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of walking a "fine line" in his recent speech setting out his vision for a post-Brexit future.

Ms Davidson campaigned against the UK's departure from the EU and warned that any deal on future relations with the Brussels bloc must be right for British business.

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She told ITV's Peston show: "What I want is to make sure that we've got a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, that we're able to - in the Prime Minister's words - trade with and operate within, to the maximum possible extent, the single market

"I think that's right for Scottish businesses, for UK businesses, but I also accept the idea that if we are going to leave the EU, then as well as getting a trade deal with the EU we should be able to get trade deals with other countries too."

Asked if it was possible that she may not support a policy reached by the UK cabinet on future EU relations, Ms Davidson said: "Certainly.

"Falling out on WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules would not be something that I think would be to the benefit of my constituents here in Edinburgh or in the country as it is."

Read more: Scottish Secretary criticised over ‘silence’ on Brexit papers
WTO rules on trade would mean costly tariffs on the import and export of goods between the UK and EU. This is widely seen as being a drag on economic growth.

But the Scots Tory leader insisted such a "no deal" scenario is unlikely.

"Nobody, whether a remainer like me or a leaver like Boris wants to see lorries stacked up at Dover."

The SNP has claimed that Scotland's voice is not being heard in the Brexit process and Ms Davidson does not have a formal role in the UK Government's Brexit policy negotiating team. But the Tory leader insists she has been ensuring that Scotland's position is being heard.

"Everybody that's got a position within the party has been feeding in and certainly I've had a number of conversations, in person, on the phone, sitting down with other ministers, with the Prime Minister to make sure that what people coming to me from different sectors in Scotland want is represented and also to make sure that the doors are open for Scottish business, Scottish firms, Scottish organisations to be able to be heard by the ministers that are helping formulate our policies.

"I don't think Scotland is not being listened to. My job is to make sure that those people that need to get sat in front of the right folk, whether that's officials or ministers get that."

The Foreign Secretary said in a speech last week that if the post-Brexit deal sees UK firms too closely aligned with EU rules and regulations, it could hold back growth.

But Ms Davidson said: "I think Boris Johnson walks a pretty fine line in that speech actually.

"What I was pleased to hear was him echoing the words of the Prime Minister in Florence when he was talking about the idea that we don't want lesser goods here.

"We want to be able to have the same sort of level of professionalism. As the Prime Minister said in Florence, folk in the Uk they don't want shrunky washing machines. They want things that are well-built, that work and that don't cost the environment much.

" That's what we want to."

A lose regulatory alignment is likely after Brexit because Britain helped "write the regulations" of the EU, having been a "big member" for over 40 years.