Scotland politics

Ruth Davidson: Johnson faces 'enormous task' as prime minister

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Media captionRuth Davidson: Boris Johnson “will be judged by his actions in office”

Boris Johnson will face an "enormous task" as prime minister at an "incredibly challenging time", Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said.

Mr Johnson is set to enter Downing Street after winning the Conservative leadership contest by a wide margin.

Ms Davidson congratulated the former London mayor on his victory, despite having backed his rival Jeremy Hunt.

She said Mr Johnson was not her choice, but said she would "judge his premiership by his actions in office".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also congratulated the new Conservative leader on his win, but said she had "profound concerns about the prospect of his premiership".

Mr Johnson won 92,153 votes from Conservative members in the contest, to Mr Hunt's 46,656. He is now set to take over from Theresa May as prime minister on Wednesday after meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

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Image caption Ruth Davidson congratulated Mr Johnson on his victory in the Conservative leadership contest

In his victory speech, he said he would "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn".

He also said he would "energise the country" with "a new spirit of can-do", saying: "We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self doubt and negativity."

Congratulating Mr Johnson, Ms Davidson said her party could be proud of how the "keenly fought" contest had been conducted.

She told BBC Scotland: "I've been perfectly open and honest with him - he wasn't my choice for leader, I didn't vote for him. However, I will judge his premiership by his actions in office, as will everybody across the country.

"There is no job like prime minister. There's nothing that can prepare you for it. We'll see what he makes of it, and he's going to have to make a pretty good fist of it pretty early because of the challenges he's facing."

Ms Davidson said Mr Johnson was taking over "at an incredibly challenging time for our country", and "has an enormous task ahead of him".

She said her priority was to "ensure that he will deliver for Scotland within the UK" and "stop Nicola Sturgeon's efforts to take us back to a second independence referendum".

This was echoed by Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who urged the party to "unite behind the new leader and prime minister so we can get on with the job of delivering Brexit while maintaining a strong United Kingdom".

Asked whether Mr Johnson could inadvertently bolster support for independence, Ms Davidson said: "People understand that a 300-year-old union isn't decided by the personalities of the day. Whether that's Alex Salmond, who was a marmite politician, or whether it's Boris Johnson, who arguably some people could say the same about.

"I think people understand that the constitutional future of our country is a much more long-term decision."

Ms Sturgeon said she would "continue to advance the preparations to give Scotland the right to choose our own future through independence, rather than having a future that we don't want imposed on us by Boris Johnson and the Tories".

While she congratulated the new Tory leader on his victory, she said he "should be in no doubt about the gravity of the situation he is about to inherit", adding that she and others would oppose any attempt to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

She said: "Brexit of any kind would be deeply damaging to Scotland and the rest of the UK, but his public pledge to leave the EU by October 31st - 'come what may' and 'do or die' - flies in the face of logic, common sense or any basic regard for the wellbeing of the people and nations of the UK.

"It is a deeply irresponsible threat, and not one that should be contemplated by any serious political leader. It should now be taken off the table without delay or equivocation."

Several members of Mrs May's Cabinet - including the Chancellor Philip Hammond - have already pledged to resign at the prospect of a government led by Mr Johnson pushing to leave the EU without a deal.

And a cross-party group of MPs and peers is planning legal action in Scotland's courts in a bid to block the new prime minister from suspending parliament to force through such an exit.

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