Top Tory donor tips Ruth Davidson to be prime minister

A leading Conservative donor has tipped Ruth Davidson as a future prime minister as he branded Theresa May 'hopeless'.
Ruth Davidson during First Minister's questions. Picture: GettyRuth Davidson during First Minister's questions. Picture: Getty
Ruth Davidson during First Minister's questions. Picture: Getty

In an interview with The Times today, Carpetright founder Lord Harris of Peckham who funded David Cameron’s road to Downing Street also described Boris Johnson as “lazy” and said that Michael Gove had “no personality”.

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He told the paper: “I think she’s top class. They should get her in as an MP, see how she gets on working her way up and I think in three or four years’ time she’d make a great prime minister.”

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A spokesman for Ms Davidson reportedly responded: “Flattering though it is, Ruth’s focus is on Holyrood. The job she really wants is to be next first minister.”

In the scathing interview, Lord Harris said the Prime Minister is “no Thatcher” and criticised her “shell-shocked” general election performance, in which the Tories disastrously lost their House of Commons majority from a position of apparent strength.

He suggested Mrs May’s record as home secretary was not “that great”, described her attacks on aspects of capitalism and big business as “stupid”, and warned she was making a “mistake” by criticising excessive pay.

The peer’s intervention comes with the PM continuing to face speculation about her future as Tory leader and with her party split on the biggest political issue of the day - Brexit.

He said: “Both sides don’t know what they want at the moment or where they want to go.

“I’d much rather have a strong Labour government than a weak Conservative one and I’m a Conservative through and through.

“I wouldn’t want Jeremy Corbyn but if you had Tony Blair when he first got in now he would be very good for this country.”

Asked if that incarnation of Mr Blair would be better than Mrs May is currently, he told the newspaper: “Probably, I think so, yes.”

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On Mrs May’s rise to the premiership, the former Conservative Party deputy treasurer said he “didn’t think she had it in her”.

“I thought for the first three or four weeks she did well,” he said.

“Then she did the election and she was hopeless.

“She’s changed her mind too many times.

“I think she was shell-shocked but she’s got to start making decisions, or someone has... Theresa May has got a great opportunity if she lets (her ministers) work and leads them.

“I don’t know if she can lead them or not.”

The interview came after Mrs May revealed her frustration at being branded “robotic” on BBC radio’s Test Match Special.

The Prime Minister also last week insisted she is “not a quitter” and vowed to lead the Conservatives into the next general election.

But the decision sparked warnings that she would fuel moves to oust her before 2022.