It has been an busy week in politics since the last Sunday shows. Theresa May suffered one of the worst conference speeches in history, faced being ousted and then survived one of the worst ever attempted coups.
Davidson on the coup
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, appeared on both the Andrew Marr show and ITV’s Peston on Sunday this morning to defend the prime minister. May, she said, was the “best person to lead us forward”.
Davidson, who is a grassroots favourite, did nothing to dampen hopes she may move to Westminster. Asked if she would seek a Commons seat, she said she was “not looking past 2021”. An answer that did not rule out a move in 2022. And asked if a Scot could lead the party, she replied: “Oh absolutely, without a doubt.”
Davidson on running for a Commons seat
With rumours of a reshuffle in the air, Davidson also used her appearance on Marr to defend the right of May to sack Boris Johnson if she wanted to. The foreign secretary, she said, needed to prove his loyalty. “He has come out to say he is fully behind every dot, comma, T and word of the Florence speech. I want to see the prime minister hold him to that,” she said.
On ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Davidson slapped down Grant Shapps pretty hard for his attempt to get rid of the prime minister last week. “I think calling it a coup is perhaps flattering Mr Shapps,” she said.
Davidson burns Shapps
The other main guest on Marr and Peston was Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP holds its conference this week and the Scottish first minister was asked if she would apologise for losing so many MPs at the snap election.“I think the BBC needs a bit of a reality check,” she hit back. “The SNP is 17 points clear of our nearest rival. When I became SNP leader the SNP had six MPs in the House of Commons, we have 35 MPs today.”
Sturgeon defends the SNP’s election result
Sturgeon, whose push for a second Scottish independence referendum was thrown off course by the election result, was also asked about the Catalan independence vote. “If Spain’s position is that wasn’t a legal referendum, surely the question is how can there be a legal way for people to Catalonia to express their view?” she said. “You can’t simply in a democracy say there is not legal or legitimate way for people to decide what their future to be. That would be an absurd position.”
Sturgeon on Catalan independence
Over on Sky News’ Sunday with Paterson, culture secretary Karen Bradley said she did not think Johnson was “witty” or “funny”.
The foreign secretary got into trouble during the Conservative conference for joking the “dead bodies” in Libya were getting in the way of business.
“That was a comment that he made at a fringe meeting at conference, presumably trying to be witty, I don’t think it was terribly witty, I don’t think it was funny,” Bradley said. “It is a very important life lesson for all politicians and I suspect Boris is reflecting on that himself after those comments. I am sure he is reflecting on the comments he made and regretting that he even considered making those comments never mind that they were actually said but the important point is that we get on with the job.”
Bradley does not think Boris is funny
One MP who does not want Johnson to be fired is Nadine Dorries. The backbencher told Peston that rather than the foreign secretary being demoted, it was the chancellor who should get the chop. “If I was prime minister the person I would be demoting of sacking would be Philip Hammond. I don’t think he has been totally onboard, he has deliberately been trying to make the Brexit negotiations difficult,” she said.
Dorries wants Hammond sacked
Dominic Raab’s name is often mentioned when talk turns to the future leadership of the Tory party. On the BBC’s Sunday Politics he batted away questions whether he sees himself as a candidate branding discussions of the leadership “self indulgent, rude and unprofessional”.
Raab does not want to talk leadership
The BBC also treated viewers to a helpful video reminding everyone of how Labour’s position on Brexit has, evolved, over the past few months. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said she could not give an answer in “soundbites”.
“What you don’t want to do is end up with a tight package with red lines. That is not a helpful contribution,” she said. “We have tried to say we must leave the EU and abide by the result of the referendum. We need to leave, but we need to have the same benefits we had from being in the EU.”
Labour’s Brexit positions
Also on Sky News’ Sunday with Paterson, the chairman of RBS Howard Davies offered a blunt assessment of what Brexit means for the UK’s financial services industry.
“If we go into Brexit we will find that jobs will leave the City and there will be a rebalancing of financial activity in Europe,” he predicted. Asked what the economic impact would be of leaving the EU, he added: “I think it’s going to be quite considerable over time.”