Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has rejected calls for a re-run of the Brexit referendum, saying it would mean “more division, more rancour and a politics trapped in the past”.
Quashing all hope from remainers that the Tory MSP could support a so-called “people’s vote”, she told delegates at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that backing a second referendum would make her “the worst type of hypocrite”.
Davidson, who got a warm welcome in the conference centre, cited the Scottish National Party’s repeated demands for a second Scottish independence referendum.
She said: “And my response and the Prime Minister’s response [to the SNP] has been clear: the people of Scotland spoke. They said No. It’s time to move on.
“Well – the same message applies with Brexit.
“I don’t get to stand here and profess myself a democrat – to declare that some decisions are so big they can’t be taken by politicians alone – and then demand a re-run just because I wasn’t on the winning side.
“And if I tried to argue differently - to insist that one referendum result was sacrosanct while another should be immediately overturned, well, that would make me just the worst type of hypocrite.”
It comes as reports emerge that Tory ministers are on the cusp of resigning from the government in protest at Theresa May’s refusal to back a second Brexit vote.
Davidson, who was one of the leading proponents of Remain during the 2016 referendum, said the Brexit vote “exposed some deep divisions in this country” and called on her party to aim to heal the wounds.
She said: “Conference, I didn’t get the result I wanted in 2016.
“But you don’t get to demand a re-run just because you didn’t get what you want.
“That way leads to more division, more rancour and a politics trapped in the past.
“The people voted. And there is no way to bring this country back together that doesn’t respect the vote.”
In recent weeks, the Scottish Tory leader ruled herself out of any race to become UK Prime Minister for the sake of her mental health.
She told delegates, however, that she was confident she oust the SNP in Holyrood and become First Minister of Scotland.
Davidson also called for a resurgence of the centre in British politics and hit out at the rush to extremes.
“And I want to make a plea,” she said. “To look beyond the sound and fury that passes for our politics just now. Where the extremes get ever louder and the centre falls to silence.
“Where more energy is expended on twitter spats and below the line comments, than on making it that bit easier for those who come after.
“The people whose daily hopes, worries and aspirations should be at the heart of all we do.”