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Ruth Davidson: A gay, working class, bull riding, outspoken Scot...and the Tories' secret weapon

Ruth Davidson photographed below Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh
Credit: Sophie Gerrard

Editor's note: This article was first published on  Feb 17 2017 . Since then, James Kirkup  has left The Telegraph to become director of the Social Market Foundation.

Ruth Davidson shouldn’t be here. By any traditional  understanding of politics,  she shouldn’t even have a political career, never mind one that’s seen her achieve enough by the age of 38 to be a serious player in the Conservative Party, viewed by serious people at Westminster as  a potential future prime minister. She should also, by rights, probably be dead, but we’ll get to that in a minute. 

First the politics. Davidson is the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, the party that finished second in elections to the Scottish Parliament last May. Second behind the Scottish National Party, but ahead of Labour. Even in the age of political earthquakes, that was a remarkable result: hatred of the Conservatives runs deep  in Scotland,...

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