Ruth Davidson’s Scottish successes saved TMay’s bacon on June 8th but that comes at a price

August 9th, 2017

The mathematics of the Tory power struggle

The chart is very simple but illustrates clearly why Scottish Conservative leader feels able to to put pressure on TMay over the PM’s hardline immigration rhetoric.

Davidson is making a pro-immigration argument that’s rarely heard from a Conservative. She says ‘with the country on the road to full employment, potential for growth is facing ever greater limitations’ without the boost from immigrants.

The Scottish Conservative leader attacks May for her “easy slogans” on getting numbers below 100k and comes at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations.

In many ways Davidson’s approach is at loggerheads with the TMay interpretation of the referendum result making control of migrants a main priority.

    Davidson’s pressure and influence is part of the price the PM will have to pay for their very different performances on June 8th. Theresa May’s gamble ended in failure the scale of which was mitigated by Davidson’s success in Scotland.

On specifics Davidson wants May to drop her longstanding insistence that overseas students be included on immigration something that’s been widely criticised by universities because it undermines their income base and their efforts to attract the most able students.

A Spectator email has noted that Davidson’s move seems to “echo that of the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who has also previously cast doubt over the government’s goal of reducing net migration to below the 100,000 target”.

Could this be part of what Rudd and Davidson discussed during their private meeting in Glasgow last week?

Mike Smithson