Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told the Tory conference in Birmingham that the “people have spoken” and demanded that the Brexit result is “respected” or risk undermining British democracy.
The intervention by Ms Davidson is crucial because she campaigned to stay in the EU in 2016 and is seen as an iconic figure by Remainers who had hoped she would support another EU poll.
Greeted with loud cheers from Tory members, Ms Davidson, who has been the darling of the Tory conference for since playing a crucial role in stopping Scottish independence in 2014, made it clear that Brexit needs to happen.
The heavily pregnant Scottish Conservative leader is about to take a five month break for maternity leave and was given a rousing send off by Tory members.
She told Tory members how Remainers asked her “Ruth you voted Remain, surely you’d welcome the chance to try and reverse the result. Why not back another vote?
“Why not join all the other people who were happy to support a referendum when they thought they’d win, and are now crying foul and insisting we go through it all again.”
But drawing from her experience in Scotland she pointed out that after winning the independence referendum she had insisted that there should not be a rerun and the result should be respected.
She said: “Four years ago, the SNP told Scotland they’d respect the independence referendum result. And for four long years, they’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing to have another go. And to keep going till they get the result they want.
“And my response and the Prime Minister’s response has been clear: the people of Scotland spoke. They said No. It’s time to move on.”
She went on: “Well – the same message applies with Brexit.
“I don’t get to stand here and profess myself a democrat – to declare that some decisions are so big they can’t be taken by politicians alone – and then demand a re-run just because I wasn’t on the winning side.
“And if I tried to argue differently – to insist that one referendum result was sacrosanct while another should be immediately overturned, well, that would make me just the worst type of hypocrite.”
In a warning that a second vote would undermine democracy in Britain, Ms Davidson insisted that everybody however they voted in 2016 “must respect the democratic choices we make – or we undermine the principles we all claim to uphold.”
She added: “You don’t get to demand a re-run just because you didn’t get what you want. That way leads to more division, more rancour and a politics trapped in the past.”
Meanwhile, Ms Davidson again ruled out a run at Downing Street, telling Tory members she wanted only one job – to be First Minister of Scotland.
The Scottish Conservative leader said: “We can agree a Brexit deal under the Conservatives, or we can risk handing the keys of Downing Street to Jeremy Corbyn.
“I know which one I believe is in the national interest. I stand by the Prime Minister.”
She went on to say that her aim was to defeat “Nicola Sturgeon’s miserablist SNP government”.
She said: “Yes, there is a job I’m after. It’s the job of First Minister of Scotland.
“Because I want to lead the country – and leave the SNP’s decade of division behind us.”
The Scottish Tory leader also offered some advice on how to deal with Corbyn’s Labour Party.
She said: “I know there’s some debate right now about how we respond to Mr Corbyn’s Labour party.
“Here’s my advice: folks, just leave him to his Labour takeover.
“Let him crack on with all those nine hour long meetings of the National Executive Committee he seems to love, let get him get on with compositing motions and allowing deselections of long serving members.
“Instead, let us get on with facing up to the challenges of the 21st century which need our attention.”