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Tory leader: It's time for a working class revolution; Ruth Davidson vows to get more Scots in jobs and rules out another indy referendum while thousands of Yessers hit the streets.

Byline: Judith Duffy Political Editor

Ruth Davidson yesterday said a Tory government at Holyrood would start a "blue-collar revolution".

The Scottish Conservative leader, who has just returned from maternity leave, told party members in Aberdeen she was determined to train more teenagers and get more older people into work.

She said: "What we need is nothing short of a blue-collar revolution, and a government led by me would deliver on it."

Delivering her flagship speech at the Scottish Tories' spring conference in Aberdeen, she urged Westminster leaders to "get Brexit sorted" as she admitted the party faced a massive backlash.

Following Thursday's English council elections, the Scottish Tory leader admitted angry voters had already given her party an "almighty kicking".

But, she warned, an even bigger wake-up call could come in the forthcoming European votes.

Ms Davidson also set out her pitch to become First Minister in 2021 and bring in a "blue-collar revolution" for Scotland.

Attacking Nicola Sturgeon for "banging on" about independence, she said there would be "no more constitutional games and no more referenda" if she was in power.

Her speech closing the conference, which marked her return to frontline politics after the birth of her son Finn, came the day after the Conservatives lost 1,335 councillors in England.

Ms Davidson said: "The solution doesn't lie in the trenches of one extreme or another - of overturning the referendum, or of crashing out with no deal. It lies in those colleagues who are currently round the table, taking the difficult first steps towards each other.

"So I say to the negotiating teams of our party and the Labour Party, who are currently locked in talks - get Brexit sorted, get a deal over the line and let Britain move on. Because if we thought that yesterday's results were a wake-up call, just wait for the European elections on May 23."

Despite the next Holyrood elections being two years away in May 2021, Ms Davidson said it was time to "fire the starting gun" on the campaign.

She outlined her vision for leader-ship of Scotland, including growing exports and developing clean energy.

She revealed plans to replace the current school leaving age of 16 with a "skills participation age" of 18 - which would see teenagers stay in education or take up an apprenticeship or training place until that age.

Older workers would also be given the chance to be coached in new skills or retrained to ensure they are not "cast on the scrapheap".

Earlier at the conference, Environment Secretary Michael Gove issued a renewed plea for MPs to back Ms May's Brexit deal.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said the Tories were "running scared" of democracy, with independence support on the rise.

He added: "This conference is a disaster for Ruth Davidson as her party suffers huge losses in the English local elections and the Brexit fiasco continues unabated."

Scottish Labour's Iain Gray said: "Ruth Davidson claims she doesn't want anyone left behind. That is a shameless soundbite from a politician who has backed the bedroom tax, the two-child cap and subsequent rape clause, and stood by as austerity pushed millions into poverty."

Willie Rennie of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said: "Families and businesses have been rocked by uncertainty as the Tories have bickered amongst themselves and put our economy at risk."

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Ruth Davidson gives her big speech yesterday

Thousands of indy supporters, including four-legged Yessers, march through Glasgow yesterday Main picture Andrew Cawley
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Publication:The Sunday Post (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Date:May 5, 2019
Words:578
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