Ross panned after reversing call for Johnson to quit
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has been heavily criticised for withdrawing his letter calling for the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over the Christmas parties scandal.
After it was confirmed that Mr Johnson will address the party’s Scottish conference next week, Mr Ross said that “a time of international crisis is not the time to be discussing resignations”
He was among those Tory MPs who urged the Prime Minister to stand down after he attended a number of parties at 10 Downing Street in breach of the laws on lockdown.
But after withdrawing his letter to the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee, opponents accused him of being hypocritical.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said: “This is an utterly humiliating u-turn for Douglas Ross. Only a few weeks ago he was categorical that Boris Johnson should be removed from Downing Street over his repeated rule-breaking.
“Now apparently he will roll out the carpet for the Prime Minister at the Scottish Conservative conference and pretend that the no-confidence letter that he submitted with such fanfare never happened.
“And of course, the entire Tory MSP group at Holyrood backed Douglas Ross in his demand that Boris Johnson quit – so they will no doubt be furious that he has marched them up a hill and now left them looking ridiculous.
“The Tories’ weasel words that this isn’t the time to pursue such issues is beyond hypocritical – this time last year they tabled a no-confidence motion in the First Minister in the midst of a raging pandemic.
“It is ironic that, having tried to get his boss removed from office, spineless Douglas Ross has ended up catastrophically undermining his own position – and is no doubt on borrowed time as the apparent ‘leader’ of the Scottish Tories.”
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “We are right to be defending democracy in Ukraine, but that doesn’t mean we stop doing democracy at home.
“This is a Prime Minister that has broken his own laws and shown contempt for the people of the UK.
“Douglas Ross should not be using the Ukraine crisis to go back on his principles. He knows Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister. The United Kingdom, including Scotland, deserves better.”
Mr Ross insisted that the country needed to unite around the Prime Minister./
“There will be a time and place to debate Partygate but, as even Keir Starmer [the Labour party leader] said at the weekend, we should put that on pause while there is war in Europe,” he said.
“It’s essential that we all fully support what the UK Government is doing. In light of Russia’s appalling actions, the Government and Prime Minister need our backing, and they have mine and the whole Scottish Conservative Party
“We should all be focused on what we can do to help the Ukrainian people in any capacity.”
Mr Johnson will make an appearance at the Scottish Conservative conference in Aberdeen on 18 and 19 March. The Prime Minister will be welcome to give a speech about the war in Ukraine, the party said.
The Metropolitan police’s investigations into Partygate are ongoing.