Ruth Davidson dismisses poll predicting third place for Tories at Holyrood

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Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has dismissed the results of a poll which predicted her party will fall to third place at the next Holyrood election.

She said she plans to position her party as an alternative government and when questioned on the possibility of moving to Westminster she said she is not looking past 2021 and her job "right now".

A YouGov poll in The Times of 1,135 adults in Scotland revealed voter intentions for the next Holyrood election indicating the SNP would remain a minority government and Labour would win eight seats to push the Tories into second place.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Ms Davidson said she does not "concern herself" with polls.

She said: "The same polls and the same commentators had us in third before the election last year where we beat the Labour Party at a canter. None of them said that we were going to get 13 MPs this time just in June."

Questioned over a future move to stand for the UK Parliament, she said: "I've got a job at the moment, I am not looking past 2021.

"I'm trying to build a party that was third, in some cases fourth, when I became leader, to build it up to become a credible government of Scotland."

She added: "I know what my job is and this is this my job right now. I'm looking to 2021 and I'm not looking past it."

Ms Davidson also defended the controversial Universal Credit system which replaces six benefits with a single payment.

Sir John Major
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major says Universal Credit is "unforgiving" (Yui Mok/PA)

More than a dozen Tory MPs have joined with opposition parties in calling for the rollout of the system to be paused, over concerns claimants were facing a built-in six-week delay in payment.

She told the programme Universal Credit is not "unforgiving", as claimed by former prime minister Sir John Major, and highlighted changes UK Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke announced on Monday that recipients who need a cash advance would get one within five days, or on the same say in cases of emergency.

Universal Credit advance payments in 5 days and same day immediate needs payments is brilliant news.

-- Andrew Selous MP (@AndrewSelous) October 2, 2017

She said: "There had been a situation where you could have to wait up to six weeks for money if you find yourself in a situation where you first require Universal Credit.

"That's been scrapped and it's now going to be moved up to payment in advance to five days. Now I think that will make a huge difference."