There are few people whose endorsement will be more valuable in the next Tory leadership contest than Ruth Davidson’s. She is, as I say in The Sun today, the darling of the Tory grassroots—more popular with them than the Prime Minister or any member of the Cabinet. But, unlike so many other senior Tories, she isn’t interested in running herself. Her immediate aim is to be First Minister of Scotland, not Prime Minister.
All this means that Davidson will be, in the words of one of those being urged to run, ‘the king maker par excellence’. So, there is intrigue in Tory circles that Davidson and Amber Rudd had a long drink in Glasgow last week. It is another sign of the fast-developing friendship between this pair.
I understand that Davidson views Rudd as the pick of the current Cabinet. While some of Rudd’s Westminster backers are confident that she is in pole position to get Davidson’s backing when May steps down.
Rudd isn’t the only contender hoping to get Davidson’s backing, though. Rory Stewart, the Africa minister, is developing ties with her. While those who favour skipping a generation argue that her support would immediately propel a candidate into the front rank. Backers of Tom Tugendhat are keen to highlight his friendship with the leader of the Scottish Tories. But, at the moment, Rudd must be regarded as the favourite to get her backing when May steps down.