Boris Johnson should resign if he misled parliament about Downing Street party, Scots Tory leader says

Douglas Ross says a party ‘clearly’ took place at Downing Street in contrast to No.10 denials

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Wednesday 08 December 2021 15:25
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Boris Johnson should resign if he misled parliament about an illegal Christmas party at Downing Street, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said.

Speaking on Wednesday Douglas Ross said that a party had “clearly” taken place in Downing Street during lockdown regulations, contrasting with No.10 denials over the matter.

Mr Ross said: “If he knew about the party this time last year or at any point up until he was asked about it in the House of Commons and still said he knew nothing about it and I wasn't a party, that's a serious allegation – and I don't support anyone deliberately misleading parliament, so I'm not going to protect anyone for that.”

According to BBC Scotland, the Scottish Tory leader added: "No-one should continue in their post if they mislead parliament in that way."

A poll by Savanta ComRes released on Wednesday found that one third of 2019 Tory voters, and a majority – 54 per cent – of all voters believe Mr Johnson should resign.

Speaking separately to the broadcaster STV Mr Ross was asked whether he still had confidence in the prime minister, to which he replied: "I have confidence in the prime minister of the United Kingdom, but his government has serious questions to answer on this issue.

"When he made statements last week they seem to be very different to what he is saying this week and the video evidence that has emerged. That is a really serious issue for him, for his government and for everyone who was involved in whatever happened in Downing Street last December.

"The public deserve answers because the public have sacrificed so much during this pandemic and they view this extremely dimly. They are understandably angry about what has happened and the fact that this has been in some ways hidden since last year."

It comes as former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson described Mr Johnson’s response to Keir Starmer at PMQs as “pathetic” and said Tory colleagues were also “furious”.

“None of this is remotely defensible. Not having busy, boozy not-parties while others were sticking to the rules, unable to visit ill or dying loved ones. Nor flat-out denying things that are easily provable,” she said.

“And today’s ‘we’ll investigate what we’ve spent a week saying didn’t happen and discipline staff for rules we continue to say weren’t broken’ was pathetic.”

The Scottish National Party reiterated a call for Mr Johnson to go or be removed by his party at PMQs in Westminster on Wednesday afternoon. Labour has criticised the government’s handling of the matter but shied away from calling on Mr Johnson to go.

The allegations exploded on Tuesday night after ITV News revealed a video showing top No.10 officials laughing about the party.

Mr Johnson says all rules were following during the bash, while Downing Street denies that what occurred was a party, but has offered nothing concrete to substantiate its claim.

The prime minister issued a half-apology on Wednesday at PMQs, saying sorry for the video of his staff causing offence. But he did not apology for the party, still refusing to acknowledge that it occurred.

The Tory leader, whose ministers refused to go on television and radio to defend him this morning, said he would launch an investigation into the get-together led by cabinet secretary Simon Case.

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