Ruth Davidson says she hopes Boris Johnson has 'Prince Hal' character transformation as PM

Sean Morrison

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson has said she hopes Boris Johnson will experience a character transformation similar to that of “young Prince Hal”.

Ms Davidson hit out at Mr Johnson’s Brexit stance and said she wished he would mature as a Prime Minister like Prince Harry did in William Shakespeare’s Henriad series.

Her remarks came as she spoke on Tuesday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where she made clear her differences of opinion with the Tory leader.

Ms Davidson told the audience her favourite play is Shakespeare’s Henry V and noted Prince Harry’s transformation from an irresponsible, wayward youth to a mature and disciplined King of England by the end of the Henriad series.

Boris Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU by October 31 (REUTERS)

The English literature graduate said she wishes for a similar change in character for Mr Johnson, but added that he should be judged by his actions as PM.

She said: "I'm a strong believer - and was taught in the Territorial Army - you salute the rank, not the person who wears it. The country does well if the prime minister does well, so I want him to do well.

"Any background we have is completely irrelevant to the national interest. I personally don't think no-deal is in the national interest - that's why I'm arguing against it.

"Judge him on what he was like as a prime minister and I will judge on what he's like as a prime minister."

The Scottish Conservatives leader predicted the rise in populist ideologies will begin to be rejected by voters, pointing to "Trumpism" in the US and the rise of the right-wing Five Star Movement in Italy as examples.

She went on to say there had "always been a backlash" against "that sort of fundamentalism", and called for an end to identity politics.

Ms Davidson added: "I think that backlash will come in the UK. You can't get things done if you believe in absolutism. Compromise is such a dirty word at the minute, but it shouldn't be.

“We have to get past this identity politics."

Ms Davidson used Jeremy Corbyn as example of someone who may be dismissed as "just an old Marxist" and not listened to even if he has a good idea.

She added: "The pendulum will swing again - I honestly believe that."

Ms Davidson was at the festival to speak about her book Yes She Can: Why Women Own The Future, which includes interviews with "world-beating women".

In the New York Times Theatre event - chaired by Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger - she predicted a future where gender inequality was no longer the norm.

She added: "I absolutely see a position in the not too far away future where there's just no space for that level of misogyny and sexism."

Additional reporting by the Press Association