Ruth Davidson

by Niall Ferguson
Dan Kitwood—Getty Images

There was a time when the Conservative Party looked as dead as a dodo in Scotland. Having won majorities of Scottish votes in the 1950s, the Tories seemed to have gone extinct by 1997, when not a single one of their candidates won in Scotland. The party’s resurrection—it won 31 seats in the Scottish Parliament in 2016 and 29% of the Scottish vote in last year’s U.K. general election—owes much to the refreshing, rambunctious style of Ruth Davidson. Born in Edinburgh in 1978, Davidson served in the British Army Reserves and worked as a journalist before entering politics in 2009. Just two years later, she was elected the Scottish Conservatives’ leader. An opponent of both Scottish independence and Brexit, Davidson stands out as a proponent of same-sex marriage. Indeed, she and partner Jen Wilson are currently planning their wedding. Could she be a future British Prime Minister, succeeding the beleaguered Theresa May? “I love London,” she has said. “No plans to move there myself, but great to visit.” Many voters south of the border would love her to reconsider.

Ferguson, a Scottish historian, is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution

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