FORMER Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has revealed that she almost did not run for the position in case her mental health history became known.

The Tory peer, who was diagnosed with clinical depression in her first year at university, said she was concerned that her medical history would come out when she was considering standing for the role in 2011.

Davidson told the Desperately Seeking Wisdom with Craig Oliver podcast that when she was diagnosed around 20 years ago, people did not talk about mental health issues as much, adding: “It was very shameful. I didn’t want anyone to know.”

Davidson, who served as an MSP from 2011 to 2021, said she wanted to be able to talk about her mental health “on my own terms” so that she could “own the way in which it was presented”.

The peer, who became leader of the Scottish Conservatives in November 2011, said: “Actually, I considered not throwing my hat in the ring for leader in case my medical history, that came out. I’m trying to remember dates, but I became leader in 2011, so it would be after the press got hold of Gordon Brown’s children’s medical records, which felt like a really egregious breach.

“But the idea that the papers had the power to find out and open up people’s medical records, why wouldn’t somebody want to find that out about the new leader of the Tories in Scotland?”

Davidson has worked with mental health charity the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) during her time in politics and said she was pleased she had the opportunity to open up about mental health issues.

She said it would have helped her at the time of her own diagnosis to see someone speaking out. She said: “The idea that you could go on and have a big job, that you could be in the public eye, you could be in politics at all, and have this big shameful secret ... it didn’t occur to me.”