We can't just have a Tory Brexit, Davidson tells May

Ruth Davidson has called for cross-party cooperation on Brexit, telling the Prime Minister the UK's exit from the EU cannot be secured on the Conservatives' terms alone.

Ruth Davidson arrives at 10 Downing Street on Monday. Picture: AFP/Getty
Ruth Davidson arrives at 10 Downing Street on Monday. Picture: AFP/Getty

Ms Davidson said her 13 Scottish Conservative MPs will follow the tradition of being a “separate party” in the House of Commons on important issues like Brexit.

The Scottish Conservative leader held a private meeting with Theresa May and attended a meeting of the political cabinet to hammer out the party’s position on Brexit, following its failure to secure a majority.

She said the Tories had to “reach out to others” to deliver the UK’s Brexit deal. The comments will fuel speculation that the Scottish Conservative bloc at Westminster will push for a ‘softer’ Brexit deal, potentially retaining single market membership.

However, Mrs Davidson had earlier appeared to be on a collision course with Downing Street, with a Number 10 spokesman saying “there has been no change” to plans to quit the European single market and customs union.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Speaking to the BBC after her meeting, Ms Davidson said: “I think what is clear is that there is a commitment from around that cabinet table, from within the Conservative Party, to now work with others to make sure that we go after the best economic deal.

“In terms of how we reach out to others and how we take on board their ideas there is lots of work to be done.

“But I do think that there can be changes in the offer of Brexit as we go forward.”

She added: “I think my 13 MPs are all individuals and each and every one of them will play their full part in the House of Commons. In Scotland we do come from a liberal tradition, we were a separate party at one time, and I would expect them to carry that tradition into the House of Commons and I look forward to their progress.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Mrs Davidson’s calls for cooperation were echoed by Nicola Sturgeon, who warned that “everything has changed” in the wake of the election and said the government had lost its mandate for a “hard Brexit”.

And Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, who was at Westminster to unveil his party’s four MPs, said Mrs May should “swallow her pride” and work with other parties to reach an “acceptable form of Brexit”.