POLITICS
28/07/2019 13:08 BST | Updated 29/08/2019 09:41 BST

Ruth Davidson 'Will Not Support' A No-Deal Brexit

Scottish Tory leader says she does not have to sign pledge to back no-deal to stay in post.

Ruth Davidson has said she will back Boris Johnson as prime minister - but will not give her support to a no-deal Brexit.

The Scottish Conservative leader also insisted that her position in the Scottish Parliament exists independently of Westminster and that she does not have to sign any no-deal pledge to continue to serve.

In a major reshuffle at Number 10 earlier this week, Johnson installed a number of Brexiteers in key Cabinet posts as more than half of May’s top team had quit or been sacked, including Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell.

It came as Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak said preparing for a no-deal exit was the government’s “number one priority”.

Writing in the Mail On Sunday, Davidson said: “I hope beyond measure that the new prime minister is successful in getting an agreement with the EU so that he can go back to the House of Commons and get the majority backing he needs. He has my full support in those efforts.

PA Wire/PA Images
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson introduces Sajid Javid as he launches his campaign to become leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and Prime Minister in central London.

“Where I differ with the UK Government is on the question of a no-deal Brexit.

“When I was debating against the pro-Brexit side in 2016, I don’t remember anybody saying we should crash out of the EU with no arrangements in place to help maintain the vital trade that flows uninterrupted between Britain and the European Union.

“I don’t think the UK Government should pursue a no-deal Brexit, and if it comes to it, I won’t support it.

“I wrote to tell the former prime minister Theresa May that last year and I confirmed my position to her successor when I spoke to him last week.

“As leader of the party in Scotland, my position exists independently of government. I don’t have to sign a no-deal pledge to continue to serve.”

Speaking to Sky News today, Sunak said ministers were “turbo charging” no deal preparations.

“We want to remove this undemocratic backstop from the existing agreement but if the EU is not willing to talk about that then it’s right that we prepare properly with conviction and importantly with the financial resources that the Treasury will now supply properly for all departments to make those preparations… what you’re seeing now, you’ve seen a real step up in activity,” he said.