Tory rising star Ruth Davidson poised for private meeting in Birmingham

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will meet West Midlands mayor Andy Street. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will meet West Midlands mayor Andy Street. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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Ruth Davidson will visit Birmingham next month for a private meeting with Andy Street, the West Midlands mayor, it has emerged.

The meeting, one of Davidson’s last engagements before going on maternity leave, will see two of the Conservative Party’s leading future leadership prospects come together for talks.

With senior leadership positions outside of Westminster and recent records of electoral success against the odds, both figures are popular and well-regarded among Conservative activists.

They also share similar views on Brexit, despite Scotland voting strongly to remain in the EU while Birmingham and surrounding areas voted to leave.

Both have called for a close future relationship with the EU, maintaining access to the single market and customs union.

Street, a former managing director of John Lewis, narrowly won the first election for “metro mayor” of a new West Midlands regional authority last year, beating the Labour candidate by 50.4 per cent to 49.6 per cent.

He is set to play a major role as host of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham at the end of September.

The Scottish Conservative leader will give a private speech to local Tory activists while in the West Midlands, as well as meeting Street. “Ruth was invited by the local association to speak to local party members,” a Scottish Conservative spokesman said. “She carries out visits such as this throughout the country on a regular basis.”

At Westminster, Davidson was seen as one of Amber Rudd’s main backers to succeed Theresa May in the event of an early leadership contest, until the former home secretary’s resignation over the Windrush scandal.

Speculation has now focused on Michael Gove as a candidate, who commands support among Brexiteers without alienating Remainers on the Tory benches.

An SNP source said: “This is typical from Ruth Davidson – she’s only ever interested in her own career prospects as opposed to trying to protect Scotland from her party’s disastrous hard Brexit.

“Her constituents across Edinburgh Central are sick of her constant navel gazing over the fate of the Tories, this time in the Midlands, as opposed to protecting the thousands of jobs on the line in her heavily Remain-voting constituency.”