We would like to see Ruth Davidson in the Commons, and available to stand as a candidate in a Conservative leadership election during this Parliament, assuming that one takes place. We would also like to see her emerge from the Scottish Parliament election in 2021 as First Minister. Unfortunately, we can’t have both. Nor can the many other Conservatives who feel the same way. Nor can Davidson herself, assuming that she does.
So her Spectator interview, in which she says that she may come south only after 2021, makes a lot of sense. The alternative is to seek a Commons seat now, get selected, win a Westminster seat at a by-election, stand down from the Scottish Parliament, and get elected to the Tory leadership – in a contest which, after all, may not happen. Davidson also commits herself in the interview to standing only in any Westminster contest for a Scottish constituency. So he would have to explain, during this imaginary Westminster by-election in Scotland, why she was quitting Holyrood. All this sounds a bit ropey, and would leave a bad smell, at least north of the border.
Davidson is also binding her fortunes to Theresa May’s. If May is forced out or stands down immediately post-Brexit in March next year, and the Conservatives go on to win a 2022 election under a new leader, there will presumably be no vacancy in Downing Street for Davidson to fill – because Prime Minister Williamson, or whoever, will be in place. Meanwhile, Davidson continues to out-perform all Cabinet members, bar none, in our monthly Cabinet League table.