RUTH Davidson has fuelled speculation that she hopes to lead the UK Conservative party by saying she is only focused on Holyrood “at the moment”.

The Scottish Tory leader said her job “right now” and “up until 2021” was trying to win the next Holyrood election, but conspicuously did not rule out a move to Westminster after that.

The Edinburgh Central MP was speaking after a new YouGov poll suggested the Tories would come third in the 2021 election, dashing her hopes of becoming First Minister.

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Speculation about Theresa May’s position has grown since her disastrous speech at the UK Tory conference in Manchester last week, with at least one plot confirmed among MPs.

At the conference, Ms Davidson appeared to rule out a tilt at the UK leadership, despite being the second place choice of the party membership behind Boris Johnson.

Asked if she would run, she said: “I honestly can’t see it. It honestly looks like the loneliest job in the world, it really does.

“People ask me and they can’t believe I don’t want the job. I really don’t. I do want the job of being First Minister of Scotland.”

But on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, Ms Davidson was far less hostile to the idea.

Asked if a Scot could lead the UK Conservative party, she said: “Absolutely, without a doubt.”

Asked if there were any circumstances at all in which she would sit at Westminster, she said: “Look, I’ve got a job at the moment. I am not looking past 2021.

“I’m trying to build up a party that was third, in some case fourth, when I became leader, to build it up to be a credible government of Scotland.

“I’ve come a long way in that. I’ve got a long way still to go. I’ve built a really good team that I’m immensely proud of. I know what my job is, and this is my job right now.

“But I’m looking to 2021 and I’m not looking past it, because there’s quite a few things in the in-tray.”

Ms Davidson reinforced the impression that her ambitions now pivoted around the next Scottish election when she appeared later on ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

She referred to the Holyrood election merely as her “next job”.

Asked her current thinking about a move to Westminster, she said: “My next job, the next step for our party in Scotland, is to become a credible alternative government in Scotland.

“When the next Scottish election comes around in 2021, I want to be leading our party [in Scotland] and I want to be making sure that we can be the next government of Scotland.”

Asked if she would rule out moving to become an MP before 2021, she said: “Up until 2021, my job is making sure that we look like the credible alternative government Scotland needs.”

She also seemed underwhelmed by Mrs May, calling her “the best Prime Minister we’ve got”.