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Scottish Tories expected to vote as bloc to protect Scotland's interests

Scottish Tories expected to vote as bloc to protect Scotland's interests

Scottish members of Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives want Brexit talks to move away from a focus on control of immigration and back onto the economy, a source close to party's Scottish leader Ruth Davidson said. "In Scotland we do come from a liberal tradition, we were a separate party at one time, and I would expect them to carry that tradition into the House of Commons and I look forward to their progress".

Questions are being raised about the growing narrative that May's failure to win a majority was a rejection of a so-called "Hard Brexit", however.

It is thought that the Scottish Conservative Westminster Group - larger than the Democratic Unionists - will vote as a discrete bloc but not seek to overturn policies in the United Kingdom party's manifesto and will not attempt to scrap the so-called "rape clause", which put the party and Ms Davidson in particular under pressure during the election campaign, as the Tories believe the two-child welfare cap is popular with voters.

The scale of that success, with the Tories toppling two of the Scottish National party's most powerful figures at Westminster in Alex Salmond and the deputy leader, Angus Robertson, has greatly increased Davidson's influence inside the Conservative party at a United Kingdom level.

As it turned out, the Tories lost their majority, being able to hang on to office thanks only to gains by Davidson's branch of the party in Scotland.

Ms Davidson sought to play down her appearance today, taking to Twitter to point out that she has an open invitation to attend political cabinet meetings in Westminster and has done in the past. This is in stark contrast of his criticism of May, whom he called a " dead woman walking".

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives joined Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady and London Mayor Sadiq Khan as one of three speakers put up by the Remain campaign for 'The Great Debate' which closed out the referendum contest in June 2016. But the following day, the government backtracked on the statement. Davidson, who is gay, responded by tweeting a link to a speech she gave on the importance of equal marriage.

Ms Davidson is also among Tories raising concerns about Ms May's potential partner, the DUP, and the party's record on gay rights.

The DUP opposes same-sex marriage and Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where it is not legal. She told the BBC that she wants Britain to have the "largest amount of access" to the Single Market after Brexit and that free trade was more important to her than immigration.

There are deep splits within the Scottish Tories on Brexit, and Davidson has said she will be calling for a softer Brexit. "What's clear is that there is going to be a real imperative on the economic impact of Brexit".


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