AS is the way of these things, the departure of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has given way to a period of soul searching for her party.

There are certainly some interesting political questions and challenges to consider. How do you follow the loss of a big hitter like Davidson, who moulded the party to suit her personal brand? What and who does this party represent, and who does it wish to attract? Should it break away and reinvent itself as an independent entity in order to survive Boris Johnson?

I don’t doubt navels are being gazed at and chins being stroked in county towns and well-to-do suburbs throughout Scotland as members mull over these matters. At this particular juncture, however, I am concerned with a far more pressing question related to Scottish Tories: how will the party’s MPs vote in Westminster this week if and when the cross-party group opposed to no-deal finally gets its act together and makes a decisive move?

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We don’t yet know exactly what form this move will take, but it will certainly involve trying to legislate to stop no-deal, with preventing the prorogation of Parliament, a possible extension of Article 50 and maybe even a vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister thrown into the mix. 

The parliamentary numbers, as we know, couldn’t be closer: following the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, Mr Johnson now has a majority of one. As for the stakes, they have simply never been higher, which is why the voting intention of these Scots Tory MPs matters to us all. 

In Scotland alone it is estimated that a no-deal Brexit will shrink GDP by 7 per cent, cost 100,000 jobs, reduce disposable income by 10 per cent and cost each of us £2,300. And with so many of us still trying desperately to recover from the financial crash of a decade ago, another recession could be the final blow. Homes will be lost, families will break down, lives will be ruined. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned shortages of medicine and food, price rises, the disastrous situation faced by small businesses. 

Admittedly, the words “crunch week for Brexit” have been somewhat overused by commentators in the last two years. But since this may well be the final opportunity to stop a no-deal Brexit, it’s hard to play down the significance of these next few days in Westminster. 
Scottish Tory MPs have already played a key role in this crisis. Their votes were vital in propping up Theresa May’s administration as it revoked Article 50 without any knowledge of what Brexit meant, created red lines that couldn’t be adhered to and pressed ahead with a bad deal nobody could live with. 

Former Scottish secretary David Mundell tried to play the martyr when he was sacked by Mr Johnson – against Ms Davidson’s wishes – but he and his cohort had already shown their colours by consistently voting against measures that would have taken no-deal off the table. 
For the last two years Ms Davidson and Mr Mundell tried to convince us they were fighting Scotland’s corner “from the inside”, but it was always clear they – unlike DUP MPs – were never near the centre of power and had no say or influence over events. Even in resigning, Ms Davidson, who has always sold herself as a moderate Conservative, and a strong opponent of Brexit, couldn’t bring herself to criticise the disgraceful and dangerous efforts of Mr Johnson and his hard-right zealots to push through no-deal. 

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With this in mind, don’t expect Scots Tory MPs to do the right thing this week. 

Indeed, I fully expect them to throw their constituents and fellow countrymen under the bus by voting with their London masters. And, in a few weeks’ time, during the General Election campaign we all know is coming, these same Scottish Tories will stand on doorsteps, look voters in the eye and tell them they are the party of the economy, business and the Union. Shame on them. 
And so I return to another question, one that I have asked in these pages before: what are the Scottish Conservatives for? 

While the party continues to enable and contribute to the deep, deliberate and lasting economic damage being done to both Scotland and the UK, I remain completely stumped on this one.  
So forgive me if I can’t get excited about the runners and riders in the race to be Ruth’s replacement just yet. 

As for whether a party that has built its entire identity on being opposed to independence and devolution will suddenly discover a love for self-determination remains to be seen. 
In the time it takes the Scottish Conservatives to work all this out, of course, they may find even their most loyal voters have deserted them. After such a betrayal it would be the least they deserve.