Ruth Davidson speaks of aid work ambition after leaving Holyrood

9 October 2019, 14:34 | Updated: 9 October 2019, 14:36

Ruth Davidson
Halo Trust Breaking Boundaries campaign. Picture: PA

Earlier this week the Scottish Conservative MSP said she does not believe she will stand in an election again having resigned as the party’s leader.

Ruth Davidson has said she is “hugely interested” in taking on aid and development work once she leaves politics in Scotland.

Earlier this week the Scottish Conservative MSP said she does not believe she will stand in an election again having resigned as the party’s leader in August.

She cited both “professional and personal” changes behind her reason for leaving the role including “conflict” over Brexit and the arrival of her son Finn last October.

Halo Trust Breaking Boundaries campaign
Ruth Davidson met pupils at ESMS Junior School in Edinburgh, during the NGO Halo Trust’s Breaking Boundaries fundraising campaign launch (Jane Barlow/PA)

On Wednesday Ms Davidson visited Erskine Stewart’s Melville Junior School (ESMS Junior School) in her Edinburgh constituency for the launch of the Halo Trust’s Breaking Boundaries initiative.

Last year she spent four days in Kabul, Afghanistan, with the Dumfriesshire-based charity as it handed back control of 95 million square metres of land to the local government.

Speaking to the PA news agency she revealed her hope to continue following her long-held interest but joked that her partner may not be so keen for it to happen so soon.

She said: “I’ve got another 18 months to finish at the Scottish Parliament so I’ll be working as the MSP here in Edinburgh Central where we stand today.

“After that I think in the longer term I’ve always had a really strong interest in aid and development work; I’ve supported a number of organisations that do work abroad.

“While my children are below school age themselves I think it would be unwise for me for my own health because my partner would kill me if I spent a lot of time abroad.

“But in the longer term that’s something I’m hugely interested in and would love at some point to go into this field.”

She spoke out after former prime minister Tony Blair said her decision to quit as Scottish Conservative leader opened up a  “huge opportunity” for Scottish Labour to embrace a pro-union and pro-EU position.

Tony Blair
Former prime minister Tony Blair (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Blair  said: “My belief is that it will be clear over these next months that there is the potential for a renewal of the centre ground of politics.

“That’s true in the UK as a whole and I think that’s true in Scotland as well.

“With the departure of Ruth Davidson from the scene of politics in Scotland, there is a very open space for the competition for that centre-ground vote.”

When asked about the remarks by PA, Ms Davidson replied: “I think Tony has to be nice about the Labour Party.

“I actually think his analysis in that is wrong because I was away for six months on maternity leave and they went backwards in the polls during that time because Jackson Carlaw is such a good performer, he’s a fantastic debater, he brings a level of humour to the parliament that I was never able to manage.

“I think he’s doing a fantastic job as interim leader and whoever we bring forward as the future permanent leader, it might be Jackson, it might be somebody else, we’ll see what happens when the leadership contest happens,  but I’ll get behind them, give them my full support when I’m inside and also when I leave the parliament because I’m a Conservative to my bootstraps, this is my party and I’ll always support it.”

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