Scottish Conservatives Leader Douglas Ross Calls For Boris Johnson To Resign
4 min read
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has called for Boris Johnson to resign after the Prime Minister today admitted to attending a “BYOB” garden party in Downing Street during lockdown.
The senior Tory MP, who is also the party’s leader in Holyrood, described the Prime Minister’s position as "no longer tenable".
"He is the Prime Minister, it is his government that put these rules in place, and he has to be held to account for his actions,” Ross said.
"Crucially for me, he said that in hindsight if he had his time again, he would have done things differently.
"To me that is an acceptance from the Prime Minister that he did wrong, and therefore to be consistent with what I've said before – I don't believe his position as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party is tenable and he does need to resign."
Ross confirmed that he has written to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, to officially register his view that the Prime Minister should resign.
Some estimations suggest that if all five other Scottish Conservative MPs send in letters to Brady, the total number he will have received would sit at around 20. To trigger a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, 54 letters would need to have been sent.
On Wednesday afternoon Johnson issued a public apology for attending a "bring your own booze" event with around 40 people in the Number 10 garden on 20 May 2020.
Lockdown rules in place at the time stipulated the public could only meet with people in their household bubble or with one person outside of it, two metres apart in an outdoor setting.
"I want to apologise,” Johnson told a packed Commons chamber prior to Prime Minister’s Questions.
"I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.
"I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed.
"I have learned enough to know there are things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility."
Johnson has been under pressure to provide an explanation for the Number 10 party all week after ITV published an email explicitly indicating the event was an opportunity "to make the most of this lovely weather". Those invited were told to "bring your own booze".
But the Prime Minister has claimed he "believed implicitly" that the party "was a work event".
A inquiry into parties held in Downing Street and other Whitehall departments during lockdown has been launched and is being led by civil servant Sue Gray, who is second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Ross’s call for Johnson to resign is particularly significant as the government has been involved in an on-going campaign to face down Scottish independence campaigners and preserve the union.
If Johnson was to stay in power long enough to fight another general election, Ross would effectively have to campaign to keep a man he has deemed as unfit to govern in Downing Street.
Alongside Ross, the Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale has similarly called for his party leader to step down.
Posting to Twitter, the senior Tory remarked: “I have already indicated publicly that I have submitted a formal letter to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee calling for a Leadership Election.
“Having made my position clear I believe that we should, if possible, afford Ms Gray the courtesy of allowing her to conclude & present her report of her investigations into allegations of improper 'party' events in Downing Street before instigating further action if appropriate
“That may change in the light of any future information that emerges in the course of the coming days.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe