Ruth Davidson suggests she would have sacked Boris Johnson over Daily Telegraph article
The Scottish Conservative leader said any of her MSPs would be "out on their ear" if they had done the same thing
Ruth Davidson: Picture credit - Parliament TV
Ruth Davidson has suggested that she would have sacked Boris Johnson if she was Theresa May over his Daily Telegraph article challenging the Prime Minister over Brexit.
In a dramatic intervention, the Scottish Conservative leader said any of her MSPs would be "out on their ear" if they had done the same thing.
She also called on the party to "get over its current nervous breakdown and man up" so it can take on Jeremy Corbyn's resurgent Labour.
- Nicola Sturgeon should rule out indyref2 "once and for all", says David Mundell
- Ministers to press ahead with Universal Credit rollout
Davidson - who recently came second to Johnson in a poll of Conservative members on who should succeed Theresa May as leader - also said she "couldn't see" the circumstances in which she would ever stand to be Prime Minister, a position she described as "the loneliest job in the world".
Foreign Secretary Johnson stunned Westminster with his 4,200-word article, which came just days before the Prime Minister was due to make a major speech on Brexit in Florence.
He then followed that up with an eve-of-conference interview with The Sun setting out his four Brexit "red lines", which appeared to run counter to official government policy.
Speaking at a packed fringe at the party's conference in Manchester, Davidson said: "If I was able to interpret the actions and the thought process behind the actions, of the Foreign Secretary, I think I would make a better living from doing that than I do at the moment."
She added: "I have a lot of MSPs at this conference - if any of you think about writing anything without telling me that runs counter to Conservative policy, you're out on your ear because nobody is unsackable."
And asked in what ways she is similar to Johnson, Davidson said: "It's fair to say I don't speak as much Greek as the Foreign Secretary."
Asked if she was the woman to "save" the Conservative Party, Davidson said: "I don't think the party needs saving. It needs to get over its current nervous breakdown and man up.
"I absolutely understand that we under-performed at the election and didn't do as well as we should have, and it's absolutely right that we look at all of the reasons why and try to sort them out. But there is a point at which you have to lift your eyes to the horizons as well and I hope very much that we come out of this conference and that's where we're going."
However, Davidson went further than she ever has before in playing down the chances of her becoming Tory leader in the future.
"I honestly can't see it," she said. "I'm really lucky. I'm regularly behind the door of Number 10, but it looks like the loneliest job in the world."
Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also took a swipe at Johnson at another fringe event, saying the 23 per cent of support he had received in the poll of Tory members "doesn't seem to me to me extremely high".
In a direct message to the Foreign Secretary, extolled the "virtues of discipline and loyalty that bind our Armed Forces together and make them so successful".
He added: "Nobody is unsackable. I can be sacked and the Prime Minister has the right and the ability and the authority to change any member of her Cabinet – that’s the way our system works. Nobody is beyond being sacked."
A festival of Britishness sets the wrong tone at this time of uncertainty and poverty
In her speech at SNP conference Nicola Sturgeon attacked the UK Government for “selfishly driving the UK towards a hard Brexit”
Keith Brown is simultaneously preparing the SNP for a second independence referendum, a general election, a Scottish Parliament election and another vote on the EU