Scotland news: Ruth Davidson admits she NEVER wants to be Tory leader | UK | News


In what has been widely praised as a brave interview, the hugely popular Scottish Conservative leader has said she does not want the top job for the sake of her mental health and relationship.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Ms Davidson revealed that she had suffered terrible mental health problems as a teenager and revealed scars from when she had self-harmed.

The 39-year-old was a favourite among many Tories and voters in the country to become a future Conservative leader and prime minister.

While it had been widely understood that she would not try to become leader before the next general election in 2022 there had been speculation earlier this month that she was due to be given a seat in the Lords to put her in the Cabinet and prepare her for UK leadership.

But while Ms Davidson’s personal popularity and electoral success in Scotland, where she revived the Conservative Party, has seen her frequently tipped as a future leader of the UK party, she has explicitly ruled out such a move.

She also dismissed claims she could take a peerage or move south and become an MP as “bollocks”.

Asked if she would ever run, Ms Davidson said: “No. I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it. I will not be a candidate.”

She added: “On a human level, the idea that I would have a child in Edinburgh and then immediately go down to London four days a week and leave it up here is offensive, actually offensive to me.”

In extracts from Ms Davidson’s memoirs, printed by the newspaper, she tells how the suicide of a boy from her home village when she was 17 sent her into a “tailspin”.

A year later she was diagnosed with clinical depression but the medication gave her “desperate, dark, terrible dreams”.

“I started having suicidal thoughts,” she wrote.

Ms Davidson said she is “still frightened” of going back to the “psychological place I once inhabited”.

She said she turns to “structure, exercise, forward momentum, measurable outcomes” when she is feeling anxious.

The interview was widely praised by politicians from all parties and health professionals for raising the problems of mental health among teenagers.

David Smith, chief executive of Mind, said: “Put party politics to one side. This is a remarkable story of a mainstream UK political leader talking so openly about their mental health, self-harm and depression.”

John Crichton, the chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Scotland said: “Thank you Ruth Davidson for speaking out so honestly- we must get our mental health services right for those in school, university and the workplace.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Poor mental wellbeing can leave scars both physical and psychological.

“Ruth Davidson’s decision to discuss her own experiences including self-harm will mean a great deal to a great many people.

“We must continue to do all we can to end the stigma surrounding mental health.”

Motherwell Scottish Conservative councillor Meghan Gallacher said: “Ruth Davidson has always been a role model to me. Incredibly strong, passionate and fierce, yet kind, understanding and fun, I am so lucky to have a woman like this to look up to in politics.

“This is a very brave article and I am proud to know her and be a member of her party.”



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