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by Andrew Learmonth
12 January 2022
Douglas Ross calls on Boris Johnson to resign over Downing Street party

Douglas Ross calls on Boris Johnson to resign over Downing Street party

Douglas Ross has called for Boris Johnson to stand down as Prime Minister, saying his position is no longer tenable. 

In an interview with STV’s Scotland Tonight, the Scottish Conservative leader says there is great unrest in the Tories over the “bring your own booze” party in Downing Street at the height of the first lockdown. 

Ross was one of the first Tories to pile pressure on Johnson over the gathering, yesterday, saying the Prime Minister should quit if he attended the party on May 20, 2020. 

In the Commons today, Johnson admitted that he had been there, though that he “believed implicitly that this was a work event.”

Ross said it was time for the Tory leader to stand down. 

He told STV: “I said yesterday if the Prime Minister attended this gathering, party, event in Downing Street on the 20th of May then he could not continue as Prime Minister. So regretfully I have to say that his position is no longer tenable.” 

Asked if he meant that Boris Johnson should resign as Prime Minister, Ross replied: “I made that clear. There was one simple question to answer yesterday, indeed since Monday night when we saw this invitation which was to more than 100 people asking them to join others in the Downing Street garden and bring their own booze, that if the Prime Minister was there, and he accepted today that he was, then I felt he could not continue. 

“What we also heard from the Prime Minister today was an apology and he said with hindsight, he would have done things differently. For me, it's acceptance from the Prime Minister that it was wrong.”

In a separate interview with the BBC, Ross, who is both an MSP and an MP, said he would be submitting a letter of no confidence in Johnson to the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs.

He said: "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".

There was support for Ross from senior Scottish Tories. His predecessor, Jackson Carlaw tweeted: "People in Eastwood, and across the UK made enormous sacrifices to follow the rules. Given that the PM has now confirmed he attended a rule breaking gathering, he has lost the confidence of the country, so I believe Douglas has made the right call & that the PM should stand down."

In the Commons, Johnson said with hindsight he “should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them, and I should have recognised that - even if it could have been said technically to fall within the guidance - there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way."

He also told MPs it was important that Sue Gray, the senior civil servant probing the gathering and series of other events that may have breached the lockdown rules, be allowed to complete her investigation.

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