Ruth Davidson, Scotland’s outspoken Conservative leader appears at the IoD this month to deliver the Rhondda Lecture
The leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, will deliver this year’s Rhondda Lecture at 116 Pall Mall in London. A recent profile in the New Statesman described Davidson as “a Christian, gay, kickboxing army reservist who made a passionate case for the EU and has transformed the fortunes of the Tories in Scotland”.
In May, Davidson led her party to famous gains in the Scottish elections – the Conservatives won more seats than Labour and she is now leader of the opposition in the Scottish parliament. Her cause has been aided by Labour’s travails in Scotland but the election highlighted Davidson’s impact in raising her party’s profile. She also won a string of plaudits for her performance in the live televised EU referendum debate at Wembley Arena in June.
Davidson has become well known for her straightforward, no-nonsense approach to politics as well as her sense of humour. Speaking to journalists in July, she said the difference between the two main parties in the UK is that “Labour is still fumbling with its flies while the Tories are enjoying their post-coital cigarette”.
The Rhondda Lecture celebrates the life of the IoD’s first female president, Margaret Mackworth. Although born into an aristocratic family in 1883, Mackworth embraced radical feminism, becoming a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Her business career began as secretary and assistant to her father, Viscount Rhondda. On his death in 1918 she became Viscountess Rhondda and inherited his vast business interests. She held 33 directorships, and in 1926 was unanimously elected by IoD members to serve as president. She campaigned on equal pay, child custody and for women to be allowed to sit in the House of Lords, which happened in 1958, the year of her death.
Ruth Davidson at the Rhondda Lecture
This year’s Rhondda Lecture will be held at 116 Pall Mall on 5 December. For more information, visit iod.com/rhondda