By Nadine White
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has ruled out ever taking on the party’s top job saying that she values her mental health and relationship too much to risk it.
The 39-year-old, who is pregnant with her first child, revealed for the first time how she had self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts when she was younger.
Ms Davidson’s personal popularity and electoral success has seen her frequently tipped as a future leader of the UK party.
But she explicitly ruled out such a move and dismissed claims she could take a peerage or move south and become an MP as “bollocks”.
Asked if she would ever run, Ms Davidson told The Sunday Times: “No. I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it. I will not be a candidate.”
She added: “On a human level, the idea that I would have a child in Edinburgh and then immediately go down to London four days a week and leave it up here is offensive, actually offensive to me.”
Exclusive interview: Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, on impending motherhood – and why she’ll never be prime minister. By @DeccaJournohttps://t.co/fNAhzZ58q0pic.twitter.com/6myk3EbzPc
— The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) September 15, 2018
In extracts from Ms Davidson’s memoirs, printed by the newspaper, she tells how the suicide of a boy from her home village when she was 17 sent her into a “tailspin”.
A year later she was diagnosed with clinical depression but the medication gave her “desperate, dark, terrible dreams”.
“I started having suicidal thoughts,” she wrote.
Ms Davidson said she is “still frightened” of going back to the “psychological place I once inhabited”.
She said she turns to “structure, exercise, forward momentum, measurable outcomes” when she is feeling anxious. During the interview she also pulled up her sleeves to reveal the scars from her self-harm.
This personal revelation comes just days after watchdogs warn that mental health services for children in Scotland are under “significant pressure”, amid soaring referrals.
The Auditor General and the Accounts Commission called for a “step change” in order to help remedy the situation.
Useful websites and helplines:
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and Ireland (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: [email protected]
HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Monday-Friday 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.
Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.