Ruth Davidson’s departure is a blow to the Tory party and the Union. Without her, the Tories will find it even more of a struggle to keep hold of their Scottish seats at the coming Westminster election. At the same time, the removal of such a formidable campaigner will make it that bit easier for the pro-independence parties as they try and win a majority at Holyrood in 2021—something that would almost certainly lead to a second independence referendum.
Davidson’s press conference this morning was an understated affair: this was not an emotional goodbye, more a matter-of-fact resignation. I suspect that Number 10 will have been relieved by the fact that Davidson while not hiding her differences with Boris Johnson over Brexit, took no swipes at him. Instead, she said that she genuinely thought he was trying to get a deal and urged MPs to back it, if he does come back with one.
If Boris Johnson came out of the press conference better than expected, David Cameron came out worse. It wasn’t hard to work out who she was talking about when she said that ‘referenda should be used to affirm public opinion but not as a way for political leaders to fail to lead’.
Davidson indicated that she won’t be standing as an MSP at the next Holyrood election in 2021. Her departure from politics to spend more time with her new born baby is a reminder of the toll that leadership takes on family life.