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by Andrew Learmonth
18 January 2022
Tory MSPs told to 'put their money where their mouths are on Boris Johnson'

Tory MSPs told to 'put their money where their mouths are on Boris Johnson'

Scottish Tory MSPs have been told to “put their money where their mouths are” and back a Holyrood motion calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign

The Liberal Democrats say the partygate row and the “repeated breaches” of Covid rules in Number 10 risk eroding “trust in government and adherence to public health measures”. 

The Scottish Tories said they had made their view on the Prime Minister clear and accused the Lib Dems of playing "SNP-style political games instead". 

Filing the motion, Alex Cole-Hamilton said he hoped Holyrood "can speak in one voice" on the issue.

"While new mothers gave birth alone and families said goodbye to their loved ones on Zoom, the Prime Minister and his staff were living it up.

"Boris Johnson isn't sorry that he and his staff repeatedly broke the rules. He is just sad that he got caught.

"The idea that these parties were going on under the noses of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak and they weren't aware of it is absolutely farcical. I'm insulted that he thinks the public are so stupid.

"It's time for him to resign as Prime Minister and minister for the union and allow someone else to take over.

"I hope that the Scottish Parliament can speak in one voice in calling for the Prime Minister to go."

The Liberal Democrat Twitter account was more forthright, tweeting: “Time for Conservative MSPs to put their money where their mouths are on Boris Johnson.”

Last week, Douglas Ross was one of the first senior Tories to call for Boris Johnson to consider his position over the “bring your own booze” event in Downing Street on May 20, 2020.

“The evidence is clear. People were invited to bring their own booze, to enjoy the garden in Downing Street and that is by any definition a party, a gathering that wasn’t allowed and therefore the prime minister broke his own rules,” the MSP told press. 

He was backed by all 31 of the party’s MSPs, but was dismissed as a “lightweight” by cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives dismissed the Lib Dem motion.

He said: "We have made our position very clear on the Prime Minister. However, we won’t waste vital parliamentary time on an issue that isn’t within the Scottish Parliament’s remit, particularly when the SNP are failing Scotland on almost every level.

“Mr Cole-Hamilton is using Holyrood to play SNP-style political games instead of focusing on what Parliament should be about – protecting Scottish jobs, restoring Scotland’s schools and improving our public services.

“The Lib Dems are desperately trying to make themselves relevant by taking a page from the nationalist playbook.”

Meanwhile, one of the Prime Minister’s closest ministerial colleagues has said Boris Johnson would be expected to resign if he knowingly misled parliament about the lockdown party. 

However, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab dismissed claims by Dominic Cummings that the Prime Minister had lied to the Commons about the party.

In a blog post yesterday, Cummings, formerly Johnson’s most senior adviser, said he had warned the Tory leader about the drinks party, but that his concerns were “waved” aside. 

Last week, Johnson told MPs that he believed the “socially distanced drinks” were a “work event”.

He said: “When I went into that garden just after 6pm on May 20, 2020, to thank groups of staff, before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event. But Mr Speaker, with hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside.”

Raab said that if the civil service investigation into a number of parties in Whitehall revealed that Johnson had knowingly misled parliament he would be expected to resign.

He told Good Morning Britain: “The rules are set out very clearly in relation to this. You shouldn’t mislead parliament. You certainly shouldn’t deliberately mislead parliament without correcting it immediately if you become aware of facts change.

“The code of conduct is critically important. I take it very seriously. I think the integrity of what we do, those of us who hold high office, is incredibly important for the trust of the public and I understand the frustration that people feel about this.”

Asked directly whether a prime minister should quit if they are shown to have lied to parliament, Raab replied: “That is clearly the case under the code for ministers.”

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Miners' Pardon: 'I knew I had done nothing wrong'

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