Ruth Davidson: My job is bigger than being cabinet Minister

Ruth Davidson has said that her job as Scottish Conservative leader is bigger than being in the Cabinet, as she admitted she is 'frustrated' over delays to promised amendments to key Brexit legislation.

Saturday, 13th January 2018, 3:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th January 2018, 3:55 pm

The Lothians MSP was asked again about her future ambitions on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

Asked if she would leave that role if she failed to become First Minister at the next election, she said: “Being leader of the opposition in Scotland, being a potential First Minister, is a bigger job than many of the Cabinet jobs down south, [and] certainly larger than sitting on the back benches, and that’s where my commitment is.”

Ms Davidson said she would meet Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday to discuss the hold-up in changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

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Ruth Davidson has said she will meet with Theresa May to discuss the hold up

She told the programme that the delays were a result of work between UK and Scottish Government officials taking longer than expected.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments have said they cannot recommend that the legislation be granted consent in its current form, which would see EU responsibilities in devolved areas initially transferred to Westminster.

The UK Government says this will allow common frameworks to be created ahead of further devolution - but it has been branded a ‘’power grab’’ by the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales.

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Ruth Davidson has said she will meet with Theresa May to discuss the hold up

Scottish Secretary David Mundell had previously said the changes aimed at addressing their concerns would be introduced next week, during the report stage in the House of Commons.

But it has emerged that the timetable has slipped, with the UK Government now not tabling amendments until the Bill reaches the House of Lords.

On the contentious Clause 11 of the Bill, Ms Davidson said: “Both the Scottish Government and other devolved administrations think that it needs replaced and rewritten. It’s quite complex to do that. I’m frustrated that it’s not happened already.

“The work that’s going on between the civil servants of the UK Government and the Scottish Government is taking longer than we had thought and anticipated and I find that frustrating.

“It also requires political input as well, so ministers are talking as well - one of the very first phone calls that David Lidington made when he became the new Cabinet Secretary in charge of part of the guts of Brexit was to John Swinney to have that discussion. I know that colleagues have sat down with Mike Russell as well. I’m going down to see the Prime Minister.

“Why it’s taking the time that it is taking ... partly because it’s never been done before but partly because these things that I was talking about, these common frameworks, it’s not just about words on a bit of paper that politicians stick their hand up and say yes or no to. It’s about what this looks like after we leave.”