Sue Gray report: Scottish parties call on Douglas Ross to 'grow a backbone' and urge Boris Johnson to resign

Ian Blackford named the Sue Gray report “damning” for the Prime Minister as Scottish parties repeated calls for Douglas Ross to urge the PM to resign.

The SNP Westminster group leader said Boris Johnson engaged in a culture of “drinking and debauchery” as he questioned the PM in the Commons after the Sue Gray report was published.

The party’s Graeme Dey MSP said Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is “out of excuses” for not calling on the Prime Minister’s resignation following the publication.

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In the report, the civil servant stated many of the events "should not have been allowed to happen" and that staff who raised concerns were not treated with respect.

Boris Johnson at a gathering on November 13, 2020 in No 10 Downing Street for the departure of a special adviser.

Senior leadership at Downing Street "must bear responsibility for this culture", she added.

Descriptions of parties during lockdown in Westminster outlined in the report include excessive drinking, wine spilled on walls, staff being sick and having an "altercation".

After seeing certain pictures included in the report before it was published, Mr Ross previously said the Prime Minister must outline why he believes this behaviour was acceptable.

He added: “To most, these pictures seem unjustifiable and wrong.”

November 2020; a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser

The SNP said Mr Ross must resubmit his letter of no confidence to the 1922 backbench committee or risk losing any remaining credibility.

Conservative MSPs including Finlay Carson, Alexander Stewart, Maurice Golden and Brian Whittle have all called for the PM to resign.

In an interview with Representing Border, Mr Carson said if the Sue Gray had been about him he said “I would be considering my position”.

However, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has given Johnson his “full support”.

Mr Jack said the PM has taken “full responsibility” and is now “tackling the cost of living at home and leading the international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.

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Speaking at the Commons, Ian Blackford said: “Empty bottles littering offices, rooms so crowded people were sitting on each other’s laps and security forced to intervene because the parties were so outrageous.

"At the centre was the Prime Minister orchestrating it, grabbing a glass for himself in order to toast the party goers.

"For eight months, we’ve heard every excuse under the sun but now we’ve all seen the damning photo evidence. While people stay at home to protect the NHS, the Prime Minister was engaging in drinking and debauchery that makes a mockery of the sacrifices each and every person made.”

Anas Sarwar has asked Mr Ross why he will not act over the publication.

The Scottish Labour leader said: “People suffered loss and loneliness in isolation while Boris Johnson presided over parties which finished at 4am.

"No one who believes in decency in public life can let this go on.

"This is a matter of principle. Why won’t you act Douglas Ross?”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on Douglas Ross to “grow a backbone” and call for the Prime Minister to resign.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This report lays out in black and white the culture of rule-breaking and lawbreaking presided over by the Prime Minister.

"He made the laws, broke them and then lied about it to the British public.

"This is also a defining moment for Douglas Ross in his leadership of the Scottish Conservatives. I have spoken to members of his party and Conservative voters who are shocked that he is still standing by a Prime Minister who is only out for himself. He needs to grow a backbone and submit his letter of no confidence.

"Every household in Britain faces eye-watering costs at the petrol pumps, sky-rocketing food prices and massive energy bills. It needs new hope and new leadership."

Mr Blackford asked whether the Prime Minister will take the opportunity to now resign.

Mr Johnson said he “appreciates his advice” as he later went on to state he has been “humbled by the report” adding, “We have learnt our lesson”.

You can read the full Sue Gray report into Downing Street lockdown gatherings here.

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