RUTH Davidson has revealed the candidate she is backing for the job of the UK’s next Prime Minister.

Saying that “serious times call for serious people”, the former Scottish Conservative leader announced she was backing former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest.

The race is now down to Liz Truss and Sunak, with bookies predicting the Foreign Secretary – who is more popular with the Tory grassroots – to pip the millionaire former Cabinet minister to the top job.

Despite calling for Boris Johnson’s resignation over the Partygate scandal, Davidson, now a member of the House of Lords, is backing Sunak who was also tarred during the furore over illegal parties in Downing Street during lockdown.

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He was also handed a £50 fine for attending a Covid rule-breaking event but received less scrutiny for his part in the scandal than Johnson.

Writing in The Telegraph, Davidson said: “For me, it has to be the man who knows the Treasury inside and out and who charted a steady course through Covid; a man whose intellect and ability set him apart, and who has the work ethic and seriousness of purpose for the challenges ahead.

“Now is not the time to gamble with the nation’s bank balance.”

She described Sunak as being a "first-rate intellect" and was able to "inspire an audience and get things running effectively" as the nation faced a devastating cost-of-living crisis. 

But she said she has agonised over the choice, saying Truss – a former member of the LibDems and an ex-Remainer “ticks a lot of boxes” for someone on the more liberal side of the party.

Davidson provided scathing criticism of the Prime Minister for breaking Covid rules, saying he had “made a mockery” of the public’s sacrifices during lockdown.

But Sunak, who she wrote had been “abused” for his role in the Partygate scandal, escaped criticism in her endorsement.

Other scandals involving the Chancellor’s wife’s entirely legal but controversial tax avoidance had “added a layer of toughness” to Sunak’s political character, the peer added.

Sunak’s wife agreed to pay UK taxes on her overseas income after her arrangements were revealed, but shortly after was reported to have moved out of Downing Street with her daughters.

Sources close to Sunak at the time downplayed suggestions she was doing so to escape the media spotlight, after it was also revealed the former Chancellor had held a US Green Card for more than a year after taking on his role at the Treasury.