Ruth Davidson voices ‘despair’ at Tory colleagues who dismiss business

Ruth Davidson voices ‘despair’ at Tory colleagues who dismiss business
The peer’s comments will be widely seen as directed at the Prime Minister following his chaotic speech to the CBI.

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has spoken of her “despair” at party colleagues that dismiss or disrespect business, in an apparent swipe at Boris Johnson.

The Tory peer’s comments, as she stressed the important contribution made by companies, will be widely seen as being directed at the Prime Minister following his chaotic speech to captains of industry.

The Prime Minister’s address to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) saw him lose his place in his notes, talk about Peppa Pig and impersonate a car.

He was also reported in 2018 to have bluntly dismissed the business sector’s concerns about Brexit.

I despair where I see people, even those of my own party, dismissing business

Lady Davidson

Speaking in Parliament, Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links said she is “unashamedly a pro-business Tory”.

She said: “I believe that hard work, endeavour, production and earning, providing for one’s family, is good for the individual, for health, for self-esteem, for freedom, for increased choice and for agency.

“But I also believe that what work does for the individual, business does for the country. A healthy economy gives us the funds and levers to improve public policy and it grants greater influence in an ever more integrated world to be able to shape improvements on a global scale.

“It is a virtuous circle. And it is why I despair where I see people, even those of my own party, dismissing business or disrespecting the herculean efforts that people have gone to, especially in the last two years to look after their staff, to do well by them, to keep the show on the road, to survive and to fight back.”

Lady Davidson made her remarks at Westminster as peers debated Scotland’s contribution to the bounce-back of the UK, amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic and the campaign for independence by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP

She said firms north of the border are “playing a full part” in the economic recovery, which would support hospitals, education and improve the lives of future generations.

Highlighting the importance of language in relation to the Union and calls for independence, Lady Davidson: “Too often I feel that those of us who support the continuation of our United Kingdom are at risk of doing the Scottish nationalists’ job for them. By talking about Scotland in a way that separates us from that of which we wish to remain a part.

“Where Scotland is reduced to a comparator of our neighbouring nations, not a member of the wider whole.

Labour’s Lord Foulkes accused the SNP of using the Scottish Parliament ‘as a campaigning vehicle for independence’ (PA)

“From there, it seems to me, there is only a short hop from defining ourselves as a counterpoint to our opponents preferred framing.

“That framing where they define the United Kingdom as some kind of imposition, something that is done to Scotland rather than the simple truth that the establishment of the United Kingdom and its development down the centuries is something that Scots didn’t just participate in but that we helped build and we had and continued to have ownership over. It is our Union too.”

Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock accused the SNP of using the Scottish Parliament and Government “as a campaigning vehicle for independence… rather than the delivery of service which are devolved”.

He added: “As a result we have seen a decline in those services.

“I think the Union is in grave danger of disintegrating. And it would be a disaster.

“Brexit shows how breaking up a union of 40 years has caused problem after problem after problem.

“How many more problems would be caused by breaking up a successful union of 300 years?

“So the UK Government needs to take some action now.”

Tory frontbencher Viscount Younger of Leckie said: “A far as I am concerned, Scotland and the Scots people are a much valued and most important part of our United Kingdom. Long may this continue.”

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