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Ruth Davidson calls for 'answers' at Scottish Tory hustings

She wants more on 'technical issues' when Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt go to Perth later.

Ruth Davidson has called on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to explain their policies on Scotland in detail when they take part in a Conservative leadership hustings in Scotland later.

The Scottish Tory leader advised the candidates not to rely on "one-line answers" and to say more on "technical issues like the Barnett formula, like bolstering the union" at the event in Perth.

Davidson, who is backing Hunt in the contest, told STV News whoever wins will need to show the "ability to pull the country back together" once they enter Number 10.

The two contenders to replace Theresa May are travelling to Scotland on Friday to take part in the only hustings north of the border in the campaign.

The leader of the party in Scotland warned Hunt and Johnson they will face "tough questioning" at the event, which will be chaired by STV's political editor Colin Mackay.

Davidson added: "I hope that they take those questions head-on and explain exactly what they're going to do in order to bolster our United Kingdom, to make sure Scotland's voice is heard at the top table in the UK, and to make sure that the demands we have are listened to."

Ruth Davidson: Next leader must be able to pull country together.
Ruth Davidson: Next leader must be able to pull country together. STV/Getty

Among the issues she wants the candidates to be grilled on is funding for the Scottish Government from Whitehall in the form of Barnett consequentials.

In this system, the UK Government allocates cash to the devolved administrations based on factors like population size and level of devolved powers, as well as the level of spending on public services in England.

Johnson's campaign was forced to deny the candidate plans to change or scrap the Barnett formula if he becomes PM.

The former London mayor has been a persistent critic of the spending arrangements down the years, previously describing them as "outdated" and unfair towards taxpayers in England.

Davidson said: "It's a time to really put the focus on them and to scrutinise the answers that they have because in a leadership campaign it's quite easy to get away with a one-line answer.

"We're wanting more on some of the really technical issues, like the Barnett formula, like bolstering the Union, that perhaps we haven't heard enough of.

"The Scottish hustings is a way in which our members can really put these two under the spot."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1439027-theresa-may-next-pm-must-act-wisely-to-preserve-uk/ | default

The Scottish Conservative leader first backed home secretary Sajid Javid in the Tory leadership contest until he was knocked out during the process of MPs' ballots.

She then briefly gave her support to environment secretary Michael Gove before he was eliminated from the race later that day.

Pressed on if her backing for Hunt amounted to supporting "anyone but Boris", Davidson said "either of them could be Prime Minister".

She continued: "What we need to see once one of them becomes Prime Minister is an ability to pull the country back together.

"In Scotland, yes, we talk about the independence referendum and the division that's caused, but across the whole of the United Kingdom, there's division after the Brexit referendum too.

"So we need someone that's able to pull people together - in my view that's Jeremy Hunt."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1438840-jeremy-hunt-backed-by-more-than-half-of-scottish-tory-msps/ | default

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