BORIS Johnson has insisted a scandal-hit Scottish Tory MP accused of sexually assaulting a Labour parliamentarian was right to step down.

The Prime Minister said Ross Thomson, who led his Conservative Party leadership campaign in Scotland and was seen as a close ally, had "done the right thing".

Thomson, who was MP for Aberdeen South, announced he would quit last weekend.

It came after Paul Sweeney, the MP for Glasgow North East since 2017, accused Thomson of groping him in the Strangers' Bar in the Commons last year.

Sweeney said he was left "paralysed" after the incident in October 2018, adding: "It was just such a shocking thing. I was in a cold sweat; it was mortifying."

But Thomson insisted the claims were "false and defamatory" and a "political smear".

Johnson was asked about the allegations during a fleeting general election campaign visit to Scotland, where he toured the Roseisle distillery near Elgin.

He said: “I think that Ross has obviously taken the right decision and I think that you should direct all further questions to him.

"And obviously I regret very much what has happened, but he has done the right thing.”

He added: “I think Ross has done the right thing.”

In a statement posted on social media, Thomson said: "Anonymous and malicious allegations this year have made my life a living hell. It has been nothing short of traumatic."

He said he had suffered a level of personal abuse "that has affected my health, my mental wellbeing and my staff".

He added: "It has been a level of abuse that I never imagined possible.

"I always believed politics was about noble pursuits and doing what you believed to be best for your country.

"My experience is that our politics is now so poisonous that we will never attract good, honest and decent people in the first place.

"I have therefore made the most difficult decision that I could ever make. I have decided that I will stand down as the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for Aberdeen South."

Thomson was accused of groping men in the same bar on a separate occasion earlier this year, during which the police were called but no formal allegations were made. He denies all allegations.

Scottish Tory acting leader Jackson Carlaw previously said he supported Thomson's decision to stand down.

He said: “I’m sorry that Ross has stood down. I’ve known him for many years. This was a decision he reached entirely of his own account.

“None of us expected this General Election. The House of Commons inquiry into these allegations has not yet finalised and I think that Ross felt that it was too much of a distraction for him to become a huge story.

“I support him in that decision. We’ve now selected a new candidate in Aberdeen South and I feel that he will go on and win the seat."