Partygate: SNP calls on Douglas Ross to re-submit letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson

The SNP has called on the leader of the Scottish Conservatives to resubmit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Douglas Ross was one of the Tory MPs who rebelled against Boris Johnson in the wake of partygate at the start of the year, calling for the PM to step down.

However, Mr Ross, who is also an MSP in the Scottish Parliament, made a U-turn shortly afterwards, instead insisting there was a need for stability at the top of Government during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Scottish Tory leader said on Monday that pictures released by ITV News, which showed the Prime Minster holding a drink while standing behind a table covered with bottles of wine and food on November 13 2020, would make people “very angry” and called for an explanation.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. Picture: PA

Mr Johnson was not fined for the event shown in the pictures – a leaving party for former head of communications Lee Cain during the second lockdown.

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, Kirsten Oswald, said Mr Ross is “weak and unprincipled” in his actions over the matter.

She said: “The photo evidence has destroyed Boris Johnson’s excuses and exposed his lies. It is now beyond doubt that the Prime Minister was partying during lockdown, breaking his own laws, and repeatedly lying to the public.

“Douglas Ross doesn’t need any more explanations. He needs to grow a backbone and resubmit his letter of no confidence without further delay.

“By constantly flip-flopping over Boris Johnson’s future, the Scottish Tory leader has blown any remaining credibility – and shown himself to be a weak and unprincipled, lame duck leader.

“The Scottish Tories have run out of excuses. The longer they leave Boris Johnson in office the more damage they will do to public trust in this out-of-touch UK Government.

“Tory MSPs should speak out like they overwhelmingly did in January. It is time for them to do the decent thing and speak out again.”

Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart told ITV’s Representing Border that he was “still disappointed, dismayed and disgusted” at the Prime Minister.

“I haven’t changed my views. That’s my view at the very start of this process, and I still believe that,” he said.

His fellow Tory MSP, Stephen Kerr, said he was “disappointed and angry” at the picture’s revelation.

But when asked by Representing Border if Mr Ross should resubmit a letter of no confidence, Mr Kerr replied: “That’s a matter for Douglas.”

Kirsten Oswald, the deputy SNP Westminster leader, had earlier said it was now time for Mr Johnson to explain himself as pictures of him drinking at a party surfaced.

Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Ms Oswald said: “It’s absolutely time now that we hear from Sue Gray, but the person we should also be hearing from in all this is the Prime Minister himself.

"It’s for him to explain why he has not been frank with Parliament and I must say I think that will be a very difficult thing for him to do in any way that’s persuasive.

“The photographs speak for themselves. It’s really clear and it couldn’t be clearer actually. We all know what a party looks like when it’s photographed and there it was in front of us in all it’s glory.”

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